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Full text of "The bartlett mystery"

owns irac 







THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 



. OF CALIF. LIBRARY. LOS ANGELES 



By LOUIS TRACY 



THE WINGS OF THE MORNING 

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KANSAS 

THE WHEEL 0' FORTUNE 

A SON OF THE IMMORTALS 

CYNTHIA'S CHAUFFEUR 

THE MESSAGE 

THE STOWAWAY 

THE PILLAR OF LIGHT 

THE SILENT BARRIER 

THE " MIND THE PAINT " GIRL 

ONE WONDERFUL NIGHT 

THE TERMS OF SURRENDER 

FLOWER OF THE GORSE 

THE RED YEAR 

THE GREAT MOGUL 

MIRABEL'S ISLAND 

THE DAY OF WRATH 

HIS UNKNOWN WIFE 

THE POSTMASTER'S DAUGHTER 

THE REVELLERS 

DIANA OF THE MOORLAND 

NUMBER SEVENTEEN 

THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 



THE 

BARTLETT MYSTERY 



BY 

LOUIS TRACY, 

Author of 

" The Wings of the Morning," " Number Seventeen," 
etc., etc. 




NEW YORK 

EDWARD J. CLODE 



COPYRIGHT, 1919, BT 
EDWARD J. CLODE 



All riglitb reserved 



PRINTED TK THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. A GATHERING AT A CLUB . . 1 

II. A DARING CRIME .... 12 

III. WINIFRED BARTLETT HEARS SOME- 

THING 24 

IV. FURTHER SURPRISES ... 39 
V. PERSECUTORS 54 

VI. BROTHER RALPH .... 67 

VII. STILL MERE MYSTERY ... 81 

VIII. THE DREAM FACE .... 92 

IX. THE FLIGHT 102 

X. CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 115 

XI. THE Two CARS .... 128 

XII. THE PURSUIT . . . . . 140 

XIII. THE NEW LINK .... 150 

XIV. A SUBTLE ATTACK .... 162 
XV. THE VISITOR 173 

XVI. WINIFRED DRIFTS .... 181 

XVII. ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 191 

XVIII. THE CRASH 201 

XIX. CLANCY EXPLAINS .... 214 

XX. IN THE TOILS 225 

XXI. MOTHER AND SON .... 235 

XXII. THE HUNT 245 



2133236 



vi CONTENTS 

XXIII. "HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 

AWAY" . ,. . ... . 257 

XXIV. IN FULL GEY . ,. , , . 269 
XXV. FLANK ATTACKS . . . . 280 

XXVT. THE BITER BIT . ,.- ,., ,. 293 

XXVII. THE SETTLEMENT . 304 



THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

CHAPTER I 

A GATHERING AT A CLUB 

THAT story of love and crime which fig- 
ures in the records of the New York 
Detective Bureau as "The Yacht Mys- 
tery" has little to do with yachts and is no 
longer a mystery. It is concerned far more 
intimately with the .troubles and trials of 
pretty Winifred Bartlett than with the vaga- 
ries of the restless sea ; the alert, well-groomed 
figure of Winifred's true lover, Rex Carshaw, 
fills its pages to the almost total exclusion of 
the portly millionaire who owned the Sans 
Souci. Yet, such is the singular dominance 
exercised by the trivial things of life over the 
truly important ones, some hundreds of thou- 
sands of people in the great city on the three 
rivers will recall many episodes of the nine 
days' wonder known to them as "The Yacht 
Mystery" though they may never have heard 
of either Winifred or Rex. 
It began simply, as all major events do begin, 
1 



2 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

and, of course, at the outset, neither, of these 
two young people seemed to have the remotest 
connection with it. 

On the evening of October 5, 1913 that is 
the date when the first entry appears in the 
diary of Mr. James Steingall, chief of the 
Bureau the stream of traffic in Fifth Avenue 
was interrupted to an unusual degree at a 
corner near Forty-second Street. The home- 
ward-bound throng going up-town and the 
equally dense crowd coming down-town to 
restaurants and theater-land merely chafed at 
a delay which they did not understand, but the 
traffic policeman knew exactly what was going 
on, and kept his head and his temper. 

A few doors down the north side of the cross 
street a famous club was ablaze with lights. 
Especially did three great windows on the 
first floor send forth hospitable beams, for the 
spacious room within was the scene of an amus- 
ing revel. Mr. William Pierpont Van Hofen, 
ex-commodore of the New York Yacht Club, 
owner of the Sans Souci, and multi-millionaire, 
had just astonished his friends by one of the 
eccentric jests for which he was famous. 

The Sans Souci, notable the world over for 
its size, speed, and fittings, was going out of 
commission for the winter. Van Hofen had 
marked the occasion by widespread invitations 
to a dinner at his club, "to be followed by a 



'A GATHERING AT A CLUB 3 

surprise party," and the 'nature of the "sur- 
prise" was becoming known. Each lady had 
drawn by lot the name of her dinner partner, 
and each couple was then presented with a 
sealed envelope containing tickets for one or 
other of the many theaters in New York. Thus, 
not only were husbands, wives, eligible bache- 
lors, and smart debutantes inextricably mixed 
up, but none knew whither the oddly assorted 
pairs were bound, since the envelopes were not 
to be opened until the meal reached the coffee 
and cigarette stage. 

There existed, too, a secret within a secret. 
Seven men were bidden privately to come on 
board the Sans Souci, moored in the Hudson 
off the Eighty-sixth Street landing-stage, 
and there enjoy a quiet session of auction 
bridge. 

""We'll duck before the trouble gets fairly 
started," explained Van Hofen to his cronies. 
"You'll see how the bunch is sorted out at 
dinner, but the tangle then will be just one cent 
in the dollar to the pandemonium when they 
find out where they're going." 

Of course, everybody was acquainted with 
everybody else, or the joke might have been 
in bad taste. Moreover, as the gathering was 
confined exclusively to the elect of New York 
society, the host had notified the Detective 
Bureau, and requested the presence of one of 



'4 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

their best men outside the club shortly before 
eight o'clock. None realized better than he 
that where the carcass is there the vultures 
gather, and he wanted no untoward incident to 
happen during the confusion which must attend 
the departure of so many richly bejeweled 
ladies accompanied by unexpected cavaliers. 

Thus it befell that Detective-Inspector 
Clancy was detailed for the job. Steingall 
and he were the " inseparables" of the Bureau, 
yet no two members of a marvelously efficient 
service were more unlike, physically and men- 
tally. Steingall was big, blond, muscular, a 
genial giant whose qualities rendered him 
almost popular among the very criminals he 
hunted, whereas those same desperadoes feared 
the diminutive Clancy, the little, slight, dark- 
haired sleuth of French-Irish descent. He, 
they were aware instinctively, read their very 
souls before Steingall 's huge paw clutched their 
quaking bodies. 

Idle chance alone decided that Clancy should 
undertake the half -hour's vigil at the up-town 
club that evening. All unknowing, he became 
thereby the controlling influence in many lives. 

At eight o'clock an elderly man emerged 
from the building and edged his way through 
the cheery, laughing people already grouped 
about the doorway and awaiting automobiles. 
Mr. William Meiklejohn might have been 



'A GATHERING AT A CLUB 5 

branded with the word "Senator," so typical 
was he of the upper house at Washington. The 
very cut of his clothes, the style of his shoes, 
the glossiness of his hat, even the wide expanse 
of pearl-studded white linen marked him as a 
person of consequence. 

A uniformed policeman, striving to keep the 
pavement clear of loiterers, recognized and 
saluted him. The salute was returned, though 
its recipient's face seemed to be gloomy, pre- 
occupied, almost disturbed. Therefore he did 
not notice a gaunt, angular-jawed woman one 
whose carriage and attire suggested better 
days long since passed who had been peering 
eagerly at the revellers pouring out of the club, 
and now stepped forward impetuously as if to 
intercept him. 

She failed. The policeman barred her prog- 
ress quietly but effectually, and the woman, if 
bent on achieving her purpose, must have either 
called after the absorbed Meiklejohn or entered 
into a heated altercation with the policeman 
when accident came to her aid. 

Mrs. Eonald Tower, strikingly handsome, 
richly gowned and cloaked, with an elaborate 
coiffure that outvied nature's best efforts, was 
crossing the pavement to enter a waiting car 
when she stopped and drew her hand from her 
escort's arm. 

"Senator Meiklejohn!" she cried. 



6 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

The elderly man halted. He doffed his hat 
with a flourish. 

"Ah, Helen," he said smilingly. " Whither 
bound?" 

"To see Belasco's latest. Isn't that lucky? 
The very thing I wanted. Poor Ronald! . I 
don't know what has become of him, or into 
what net he may have fallen." 

The Senator beamed. He knew that Ronald 
Tower was one of the eight bridge-players, but 
was pledged to secrecy. 

"I only hailed you to jog your memory about 
that luncheon to-morrow," went on Mrs. Tower. 

"How could I forget!" he retorted gallantly. 
"Only two hours ago I postponed a business 
appointment on account of it." 

"So good of you, Senator," and Mrs. Tower's 
smile lent a tinge of sarcasm to the words. 
"I'm awfully anxious that you should meet Mr. 
Jacob. I'm deeply interested, you know." 

Meiklejohn glanced rather sharply at the 
lady's companion, who, however, was merely 
a vacuous man about town. It struck Clancy 
that the Senator resented this incautious using 
of names. The shabby-genteel woman, hover- 
ing behind the policeman, was following the 
scene with hawklike eyes, and Clancy kept her, 
too, under close observation. 

The Senator coughed, and lowered his voice. 

"I shall be most pleased to discuss matters 



A GATHERING AT A CLUB 7 

with him," he said. "It will be a pleasure to 
render him a service if you ask it." 

Mrs. Tower laughed lightly. "One o'clock," 
she said. "Don't be late! Come along, Mr. 
Forrest. Your car is blocking the way." 

Mr. Meiklejohn flourished his hat again. He 
turned and found himself face to face with the 
hard-featured woman who had been waiting 
and watching for this very opportunity. She 
barred his further progress even caught his 
arm. 

Had the Senator been assaulted by the blue- 
coated guardian of law and order he could not 
have displayed more bewilderment. 

"You, Kachel!" he gasped. 

The policeman was about to intervene, but it 
was the Senator, not the shabbily dressed 
woman, who prevented him. 

"It's all right, officer," he stammered 
vexedty. "I know this lady. She is an old 
friend." 

The man saluted again and drew aside. 
Clancy moved a trifle nearer. No one would 
take notice of such an insignificant little man. 
Though he had his back to this strangely as- 
sorted pair, he heard nearly every syllable they 
uttered. 

"He is here," snapped the woman without 
other preamble. "You must see him." 

"It is quite impossible," was the answer, 



8 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

and, though the words were frigid and unyield- 
ing, Clancy felt certain that Senator Meiklejohn 
had to exercise an iron self-control to keep a 
tremor out of his utterance. 

"You dare not refuse," persisted the woman. 

The Senator glanced around in a scared way. 
Clancy thought for an instant that he meant to 
dart back into the security of the cluh. After 
an irresolute pause, however, he moved some- 
what apart from the crowd of sightseers. The 
two stood together on the curb, and clear of the 
flood of light pouring through the open doors. 
Clancy edged after them. He gathered a good 
deal, not all, of what they said, as both voices 
were harsh and tinged with excitement. 

"This very night," the woman was saying. 
"Bring at least five hundred dollars If 
the police ... Says he will confess every- 
thing . . . Do you get me? This thing can't 
wait." 

The Senator did not even try now to conceal 
his agitation. He looked at the gaping mob, 
but it was wholly absorbed in the stream of 
fashionable people pouring out of the club, 
while the snorting of scores of automo- 
biles created a din which meant comparative 
safety. 

"Yes, yes," he muttered. "I understand. 
I'll do anything in reason. I'll give you the 
money, and you " 



r A GATHERING AT, A CLUB 9 

"No. He means seeing you. You need not 
be afraid. He says you are going to Mr. Van 
Hofen's yacht at nine o'clock 

"Good Lord!" broke in Meiklejohn, "how 
can he possibly know that?" Again he peered 
at the press of onlookers. A dapper little man 
who stood near was raised on tiptoe and cran- 
ing his neck to catch a glimpse of a noted 
beauty who had just appeared. 

"Oh, pull yourself together!" and there was 
a touch of scorn in the woman's manner as she 
reassured this powerfully built man. "Isn't 
he clever and fertile in device? Haven't the 
newspapers announced your presence on the 
Sans Souci? And who will stop a steward's 
tongue from wagging? At any rate, he knows. 
He will be on the Hudson in a small boat, with 
one other man. At nine o'clock he will come 
close to the landing-stage at Eighty-sixth 
Street. There is a lawn north of the clubhouse, 
he says. Walk to the end of it and you will 
find him. You can have a brief talk. Bring the 
money in an envelope." 

"On the lawn at nine!" repeated the Sen- 
ator in a dazed way. 

"Yes. What better place could he choose? 
You see, he is willing to play fair and be dis- 
creet. But, quick ! I must have your answer. 
Time is passing. Do you agree?" 

"What is the alternative?" 



10 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

11 Capture, and a mad rage. Then others will 
share in his downfall." 

"Very well. I'll be there. I'll not fail him, 
or you." 

"He says it's his last request. He has some 
scheme 

"Ah, his schemes! If only I could hope that 
this will be the end!" 

"That is his promise." 

The woman dropped the conversation 
abruptly. She darted through the line of 
cars and made off in the direction of Sixth 
Avenue. Senator Meiklejohn gazed after her 
dubiously, but her tall figure was soon lost in 
the traffic. Then, with bent head, and evidently 
a prey to harassing thoughts, he crossed Fifth 
Avenue. 

Clancy sauntered after him, and saw him 
enter a block of residential flats in a side street. 
Then the detective strolled back to the club. 

Most of Van Hofen's guests had gone. The 
policeman grinned and muttered in Clancy's 
ear: 

"The Senator's a giddy guy. Two of 'em at 
wanst. Mrs. Tower's a good-looker, but I 
didn't think much of the other wan." 

Clancy nodded. His black and beady eyes 
had just clashed with those of a notorious 
crook, who suddenly remembered an urgent ap- 
pointment elsewhere. 



A GATHERING AT A CLUB. 11 

Fifteen minutes later Senator Meiklejohn 
returned. He entered the club without being 
waylaid a second time. Clancy consulted his 
watch. 

4 'Keep a sharp lookout here, Mac," he said, 
sotto voce. " While I was away just now 
Broadway Jim showed up. He's got cold feet, 
and there'll be nothing more doing to-night, I 
think. Anyhow, I'm going up-town." 

In Fifth Avenue he boarded a Riverside 
Drive bus. The weather was mild, and he 
mounted to the roof. 

"Now, who in the world will Senator Meikle- 
john meet on the landing-stage?" he mused. 
"Seems to me the chief may be interested. 
Five hundred dollars, too ! I wonder !" 



CHAPTER II 

A DABING CEIME 

IT was no part of Detective Clancy's busi- 
ness to pry into the private affairs of Senator 
Meiklejohn. Senators are awkward fish to 
handle, being somewhat similar to whales 
caught in nets designed to capture mackerel. 
But the Bureau is no respecter of persons. 
Men much higher up in politics and finance 
than William Meiklejohn would be disagree- 
ably surprised if they could read certain de- 
tails entered opposite their names in the dos- 
siers kept by the police department. Still, it 
behooved Clancy to tread warily. 

As it happened, he was just the man for this 
self-imposed duty. Two Celtic strains mingled 
in his blood, while American birth and train- 
ing had not only quickened his intelligence but 
imparted a quality of wide-eyed shrewdness to 
a daring initiative. When he and the bluff 
Steingall worked together the malefactor on 
whose heels they pressed had a woeful time. 
As one blood-stained rascal put it in a bitter 
moment before the electric chair claimed him 

is 



r A DARING CRIME, 13 

for the expiation of his last and worst crime : 

''Them two guys give a reg'lar fellow no 
chanst. When they're trailin' you every road 
leads straight to Sing Sing. The big guy has 
a punch like Jess Willard, an' the lil 'un a 
nose like a Montana wolf." 

It was Clancy's nose for the more subtle 
elements in crime which brought him to the 
small chalet on the private pier at the foot of 
Eighty-sixth Street that night. He could not 
guess what game he might flush, but he was * 
keen as a bloodhound in the chase. 

Meanwhile, Senator Meiklejohn encountered 
Ronald Tower the moment he re-entered the 
palatial club. By this time he seemed to have 
regained his customary air of geniality, being 
one of those rather uncommon men whose ap- 
parent characteristics are never so marked as 
when they are acting a part. 

"H'lo, Ronnie, " he cried affably, "I met 
Helen as she left for the theater. She has 
an inquiring mind, but I headed her off. By 
the way, will you be at this luncheon to- 
morrow?" 

"Not I," laughed Tower. "I'm barred. 
She says I have no head for business, and 
some deep-laid plan for filling the family 
coffers is in hand." 

The Senator obviously disliked these out- 
spoken references to money-making. He 



14 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

squirmed, but smiled as though Tower had 
made an excellent joke. 

"Try and get the ukase lifted," he urged. 
"I want you to be there." 

"Nothing doing," and the other grinned. 
"Helen says I resemble you in everything but 
brain power, Senator. I'm a good-looker as a 
husband, but a poor mutt in Wall Street." 

They laughed at the conceit. The two men 
were curiously alike in face and figure, though 
a close observer like Clancy would have 
classed them as opposite as the poles in char- 
acter and temperament. Meiklejohn's features 
were cast in the stronger mold. They showed 
lines which Ronald Tower's placid existence 
would never produce. The Senator was suave, 
too. He seldom pressed a point to the limit. 

"Helen's good opinion is doubly flattering," 
he said. "She is a bright woman, and knows 
how to command her friends." 

Tower glanced at a clock in the hall. 

"Time we were off," he announced. "Come 
with me. I'm taking Johnny Bell, I think." 

"Sorry. I have an important letter to 
write. But I'll join before the crowd cuts in." 

The Senator hurried up-stairs. He must 
take the journey alone, and snatch an oppor- 
tunity to attend that mysterious rendezvous 
while the Sans Souci's gig was ferrying some 
of the bridge-players to the yacht. 



A DARING CRIME 15 

Owing to a slight misunderstanding Tower 
missed the other man, and traveled alone in 
his car. On that trivial circumstance hinged 
events which not only affected many lives but 
disturbed New York society more than any 
other incident within a decade. 

Few among the thousands of summer prom- 
enaders who enjoy the magnificent panorama of 
the North River from the wooded heights of 
the Drive know of the pier at Eighty-sixth 
Street. For one thing, the clubhouse itself is an 
unpretentious structure; for another, the nar- 
row and winding stairway leading down the side 
of the cliff gives no indication of its specific 
purpose. Moreover, a light foot-bridge across 
the tracks is hardly noticeable through the 
screen of trees and shrubs above, and the 
water-front lies yet fifty yards farther on. 

At night the approach is not well lighted. 
In fact, no portion of the beautiful and pre- 
cipitous riparian park is more secluded than 
the short stretch between the landing-stage 
and the busy thoroughfare on the crest. 

That evening, as has been seen, Mr. Van 
Hofen was taking no risks for himself or his 
guests. A patrolman from the local precinct 
was stationed at the iron-barred gate on the 
landward end of the foot-bridge. 

Clancy, on descending from the bus, stood 
for a few seconds and surveyed the scene. The 



16 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

night was dark and the sky overcast, but the 
myriad lights on the New Jersey shore were 
reflected in the swift current of the Hudson. 
The superb Sans Souci was easily distinguish- 
able. All her ports were a-glow; lamps twin- 
kled beneath the awnings on her after deck, 
and a boarding light indicated the lowered 
gangway. 

The yacht was moored about three hundred 
feet from the landing-stage. Her graceful out- 
lines were clearly discernible against the black, 
moving plain of the river. Just in that spot 
shone her radiance, lending a sense of opu- 
lence and security. For the rest, that part of 
New York's great waterway was dim and 
impalpable. 

Try as he might, the detective could see no 
small craft afloat. The yacht's gig, waiting 
at the clubhouse, was hidden from view. He 
sped rapidly down the steps, and found the 
patrolman. 

"That you, Nolan?" he said. 

The man peered at him. 

"Oh, Mr. Clancy, is it?" he replied. 

"You know Senator Meiklejohn by sight!" 

"Sure I do." 

"When he comes along hail him. Say 'Good 
evening, Senator.' I'll hear you." 

Clancy promptly moved off along the path 
which runs parallel with the railway. Nolan, 



2 DARING CRIME 17 

though puzzled, put no questions, being well 
aware he would be told nothing more. 

Three gentlemen came down the cliff, and 
crossed the bridge. One was Van Hofen him- 
self. Now, the fates had willed that Ronald 
Tower should come next, and alone. He was 
hurrying. He had seen figures entering the 
club, and wanted to join them in the gig. 

The policeman made the same mistake as 
many others. 

"Good evening Senator," he said. 

Tower nodded and laughed. He had no 
time to correct the harmless blunder. Even 
so, he was too late for the boat, which was 
already well away from the stage when he 
reached it. He lighted a cigarette, and strolled 
along the narrow terrace between river and 
lawn. 

Clancy, on receiving his cue, followed Tower. 
An attendant challenged him at the iron gate, 
but Nolan certified that this diminutive stranger 
was "all right." 

It was on the tip of the dectective's tongue 
to ask if Mr. Meiklejohn had gone into the 
clubhouse when he saw, as he imagined, the 
Senator's tall form silhouetted against the 
vague carpet of the river; so he passed on, 
and this minor incident contributed its quota 
to a tragic occurrence. He heard some one 
behind him on the bridge, but paid no heed, 



18 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

his wits being bent on noting anything that 
took place in the semi-obscurity of the river's 
edge. 

Meanwhile, the patrolman, encountering a 
double of Senator Meiklejohn, was dumb- 
founded momentarily. He sought enlighten- 
ment from the attendant. 

" An', for the love of Mike, who was the 
first wan!" he demanded, when assured that 
the latest arrival was really the Senator. 

"Mr. Ronald Tower," said the man. 
"They're like as two peas in a pod, ain't 
they?" 

Nolan muttered something. He, too, crossed 
the bridge, meaning to find Clancy and explain 
his error. Thus, the four men were not widely 
separated, but Tower led by half a minute 
long enough, in fact, to be at the north end of 
the terrace before Meiklejohn passed the 
gate. 

There, greatly to his surprise, he looked 
down into a small motor-boat, with two occu- 
pants, keeping close to the sloping wall. The 
craft and its crew could have no reasonable 
business there. They suggested something 
sinister and furtive. The engine was stopped, 
and one of the men, huddled up in the bows, 
was holding the boat against the pull of the 
tide by using a boathook as a punting pole. 

Tower, though good-natured and unsuspi- 



A DARING CRIME 19 

cious, was naturally puzzled by this appari- 
tion. He bent forward to examine it more def- 
initely, and rested his hands on a low railing. 
Then he was seen by those below. 

"That you?" growled the second man, 
standing up suddenly. 

"It is," said Tower, speaking with strict 
accuracy, and marveling now who on earth 
could have arranged a meeting at such a place 
and in such bizarre conditions. 

"Well, here I am," came the gruff an- 
nouncement. "The cops are after me. Some 
one must have tipped them off. If it was you 
I'll get to know and even things up, P. D. Q. 
Chew on that during the night's festivities, I 
advise "you. Brought that w r ad?" 

Tower was the last man breathing to handle 
this queer situation discreetly. He ought to 
have temporized, but he loathed anything in 
the nature of vulgar or criminal intrigue. Be- 
ing quick-tempered withal, if deliberately in- 
sulted, he resented this fellow's crude speech. 

"No," he cried hotly. "What you really 
want is a policeman, and there's one close at 
hand Hi! Officer!" he shouted: "Come 
here at once. There are two rascals in a 
boat" 

Something swirled through the darkness, 
and his next word was choked in a cry of 
mortal fear, for a lasso had fallen on his 



20 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

shoulders and was drawn taut. Before he 
could as much as lift his hands he was dragged 
bodily over the railing and headlong into the 
river. 

Clancy, forced by circumstances to remain 
at a distance, could only overhear Tower's 
share in the brief conversation. The tones in 
the voice perplexed him, but the preconcerted 
element in the affair seemed to offer proof 
positive that Senator Meiklejohn had kept his 
appointment. He was just in time to see Tow- 
er's legs disappearing, and a loud splash told 
what had happened. He was not armed. He 
never carried a revolver unless the quest of 
the hour threatened danger or called for a 
display of force. In a word, he was utterly 
powerless. 

Senator Meiklejohn, alive to the vital fact 
that some one on the terrace had discovered 
the boat, hung back dismayed. He was joined 
by Nolan, who could not understand the sud- 
den commotion. 

"What's up?" Nolan asked. " Didn't some 
wan shout?" 

Clancy, in all his experience of crime and 
criminals, had never before encountered such 
an amazing combination of unforeseen condi- 
tions. The boat's motor was already chugging 
breathlessly, and the small craft was curving 
out into the gloom. He saw a man hauling in 



A DARING CRIME 21 

a rope from the stern, and well did he know 
why the cord seemed to be attached to a heavy 
weight. Not far away he made out the yacht's 
gig returning to the stage. 

"Sans Souci ahoy!" he almost screamed. 
"Head off that launch! There's murder 
done!'* 

It was a hopeless effort, of course, though 
the sailors obeyed instantly, and bent to their 
oars. Soon they, too, vanished in the murk, 
but, finding they were completely outpaced, 
came back seeking for instructions which could 
not be given. The detective thought he was 
bewitched when he ran into Senator Meikle- 
john, pallid and trembling, standing on the ter- 
race with Nolan. 

"You?" he shrieked in a shrill falselto. 
"Then, in heaven's name, who is the man who 
has just been pulled into the river ? ' ' 

"Tower!" gasped the Senator. "Mr. Ronald 
Tower. They mistook him for me." 

"Faith, an' I did that same," muttered the 
patrolman, whose slow-moving wits could as- 
similate only one thing at a time. 

Clancy, afire with rage and a sense of inex- 
plicable failure, realized that Meikle John's ad- 
mission and its ROW compulsory explanation 
could wait a calmer moment. The club attend- 
ant, attracted by the hubbub, raced to the lawn, 
and the detective tackled him. 



22 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Isn't there a motor launch on the yacht!" 
lie asked. 

"Yes, sir, but it'll be all sheeted up on deck." 

"Have you a megaphone?" 

"Yes." 

The man ran and grabbed the instrument 
from its hook, so Clancy bellowed the alarm- 
ing news to Mr. Van Hofen and the others 
already on board the Sans Souci that Eonald 
Tower had been dragged into the river and 
probably murdered. But what could they do! 
The speedy rescue of Tower, dead or alive, 
was simply impossible. 

The gig arrived. Clancy stormed by tele- 
phone at a police station-house and at the up- 
river station of the harbor police, but such 
vain efforts were the mere necessities of offi- 
cialdom. None knew better than he that an 
extraordinary crime had been carried through 
under his very eyes, yet its daring perpetra- 
tors had escaped, and he could supply no de- 
scription of their appearance to the men who 
would watch the neighboring ferries and 
wharves. 

Van Hofen and his friends, startled and 
grieved, came ashore in the gig, and Clancy 
was striving to give them some account of the 
tragedy without revealing its inner signifi- 
cance when his roving glance missed Meikle- 
john from the distraught group of men. 



A DARING CRIME 23 

"Where is the Senator?" he cried, turning 
on the gaping' Nolan. 

"Gee, he's knocked out," said the police- 
man. "He axed me to tell you he'd gone 
down-town. Ye see, some wan has to find Mrs. 
Tower." 

Clancy's black eyes glittered with fury, yet 
he spoke no word. A blank silence fell on 
the rest. They had not thought of the be- 
reaved wife, but Meiklejohn had remembered. 
That was kind of him. The Senator always 
did the right thing. And how he must be suf- 
fering! The Towers were his closest friends! 



CHAPTER III. 

WINIFRED BABTLETT HEARS SOMETHING 

EARLY next morning a girl attired in a neat 
but inexpensive costume entered Central Park 
by the One Hundred and Second Street gate, 
and walked swiftly by a winding path to the 
exit on the west side at One Hundredth Street. 

She moved with the easy swing of one to 
whom walking was a pleasure. Without hurry 
or apparent effort her even, rapid strides 
brought her along at a pace of fully four miles 
an hour. And an hour was exactly the time 
Winifred Bartlett needed if she would carry 
out her daily program, which, when conditions 
permitted, involved a four-mile detour by way 
of Riverside Drive and Seventy-Second Street 
to the Ninth Avenue "L." This morning she 
had actually ten minutes in hand, and prom- 
ised herself an added treat in making little 
pauses at her favorite view-points on the Hud- 
son. 

To gain this hour's freedom Winifred had 
to practise some harmless duplicity, as shall 
be seen. She was obliged to rise long before 
the rest of her fellow-workers in the bookbind-; 

24 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 25 

ing factory of Messrs. Brown, Son & Brown, 
an establishment located in the least inviting 
part of Greenwich Village. 

But she went early to bed, and the beams of 
the morning sun drew her forth as a linnet from 
its nest. Unless the weather was absolutely 
prohibitive she took the walk every day, for 
she revelled in the ever-changing tints of the 
trees, the music of the songbirds, and the gam- 
bols of the squirrels in the park, while the 
broad highway of the river, leading to and 
from she hardly knew what enchanted lands, 
brought vague dreams of some delightful fu-^ 
ture where daily toil would not claim her and 
she might be as those other girls of the outer 
world to whom existence seemed such a joyous 
thing. 

Winifred was not discontented with her lot 
the ichor of youth and good health flowed 
too strongly in her veins. But at times she 
was bewildered by a sense of aloofness from 
the rest of humanity. 

Above all did she suffer from the girls she 
met in the warehouse. Some were coarse, 
nearly every one was frivolous. Their talk, 
their thinly-veiled allusions to a night life in 
which she bore no part, puzzled and disturbed 
her. True, the wild revels of which they 
boasted did not sound either marvelous or 
attractive when analyzed. A couple of hours 



26 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

at the movies, a frolic in a dance hall, a quar- 
rel about some youthful gallant, violent fluc- 
tuations from arm-laced friendship to spar- 
kling-eyed hatred and back again to tears and 
kisses these joys and cankers formed the lim- 
ited gamut of their emotions. 

For all that, Winifred could not help asking 
herself with ever increasing insistence why 
she alone, among a crude, noisy sisterhood of 
a hundred young women of her own age, 
should be with them yet not of them. She 
realized that her education fitted her for a 
higher place in the army of New York work- 
ers than a bookbinder's bench. She could soon 
have acquired proficiency as a stenographer. 
Pleasant, well-paid situations abounded in the 
stores and wholesale houses. There was even 
some alluring profession called "the stage/* 
where a girl might actually earn a living by 
singing and dancing, and Winifred could cer- 
tainly sing and was certain she could dance if 
taught. 

What queer trick of fate, then, had brought 
her to Brown, Son & Brown's in the spring of 
that year, and kept her there? She could not 
tell. She could not even guess why she dwelt 
so far up-town, while every other girl in the 
establishment had a home either in or near 
Greenwich Village. 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 27 

Heigho! Life was a riddle. Surely some 
day she would solve it. 

Her mind ran on this problem more strongly 
than usual that morning. Still pondering it, 
she diverged for a moment at the Soldiers ' 
and Sailors' Monument, and stood on the stone 
terrace which commands such a magnificent 
stretch of the silvery Hudson, with the green 
heights of the New Jersey shore directly op- 
posite, and the Palisades rearing their lofty 
crests away to the north. 

Suddenly she became aware that a small 
group of men had gathered there, and were 
displaying a lively interest in two motor boats 
on the river. Something out of the common 
had stirred them; voices were loud and ges- 
tures animated. 

"Look!" said one, "they've gotten that 
boat!" 

"You can't be sure," doubted another, 
though his manner showed that he wanted only 
to be convinced. 

"D'ye think a police launch 'ud be foolin' 
around with a tow at this time o' day if it 
wasn't something special?" persisted the first 
speaker. "Can't yer see it's empty? There's 
a cop pointin' now to the clubhouse." 

"Good for you," pronounced the doubtful 
one. The pointing cop had clinched the argu- 
ment. 



28 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"An' they're headin' that way," came the 
cry. 

Off raced the men. Winifred found that 
people on top of motor-omnibuses scurrying 
down-town were also watching the two craft. 
Opposite the end of Eighty-Sixth Street such 
a crowd assembled as though by magic that 
she could not see over the railings. She could 
not imagine why people should be so worked 
up by the mere finding of an empty boat. She 
heard allusions to names, but they evoked no 
echo in her mind. At last, approaching a girl 
among the sightseers, she put a timid ques- 
tion: 

"Can you tell me what is the matter 1 ?" she 
said. 

"They've found the boat," came the ready 
answer. 

"Yes, but what boat? Why any boat!" 

"Haven't you read about the murder last 
night. Mr. Van Hofen, who owns that yacht 
there, the San Sowsy, had a party of friends 
on board, an' one of 'em was dragged into the 
river an' drowned. Nice goin's on. San 
Sowsy it's a good name for the whole bunch, 
I guess." 

Winifred did not understand why the girl 
laughed. 

"What a terrible thing!" she said. "Per- 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 29 

haps it was only an accident; and sad enough 
at that if some poor man lost his life." 

"Oh, no. It's a murder right enough. The 
papers are full of it. I was walkin' here at 
nine o'clock with a fellow. It might ha' been 
done under me very nose. What d'ye know 
about that!" 

"It's very sad," repeated Winifred. "Such 
dreadful things seem to be almost impossible 
under this blue sky and in bright sunshine. 
Even the river does not look cruel." 

She went on, having no time for further 
dawdling. Her informant glanced after her 
curiously, for Winifred's cheap clothing and 
worn shoes were oddly at variance with her 
voice and manner. 

At Seventy-Second Street Winifred bought 
a newspaper, which she read instead of the 
tiny volume of Browning's poems ^carried in 
her hand-bag. She always contrived to have 
a book or periodical for the train journeys, 
since men had a way of catching her eye when 
she glanced around thoughtlessly, and such 
incidents were annoying. She soon learned 
the main details of "The Yacht Mystery." 
The account of Ronald Tower's dramatic end 
was substantially accurate. It contained, of 
course, no allusion to Senator Meikle John's 
singular connection with the affair, but Clancy 
had taken care that a disturbing paragraph 



30 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

should appear with the rest of a lurid 
write-up. 

"Sinister rumors are current in clubland," 
read Winifred. "These warrant the belief 
that others beside the thugs in the boat are 
implicated in the tragedy. Indeed, it is whis- 
pered that a man high in the political world 
can, if he chooses, throw light on what is, 
at this writing, an inexplicable crime, a crime 
which would be incredible if it had not actu- 
ally taken place." 

The reporter did not know, and Clancy did 
not tell him, just what this innuendo meant. 
The detective was anxious that Senator Meik- 
lejohn should realize the folly of refusing all 
information to the authorities, and this thinly- 
veiled threat of publicity was one way of 
bringing him to his senses. 

Winifred had never before come into touch, 
so to speak, with any deed of criminal vio- 
lence. She was so absorbed in the story of 
the junketing at a fashionable club, with its 
astounding sequel in a locality familiar to her 
eyes, that she hardly noticed a delay on the 
line. 

She did not even know that she would be ten 
minutes late until she saw a clock at Four- 
teenth Street. Then she raced to the door of 
a big, many-storied building. A timekeeper 
shook his head at her, but, punctual as a rule, 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 31 

on wet mornings she was invariably the first 
to arrive, so the watch-dog compromised on 
the give-and-take principle. When she emerged 
from the elevator at the ninth floor her 
cheeks were still suffused with color, her eyes 
were alight, her lips parted under the spell of 
excitement and haste. In a word, she looked 
positively bewitching. 

Two people evidently took this view of her 
as she advanced into the workroom after hang- 
ing up her hat and coat. 

"You're late again, Bartlett," snapped Miss 
Agatha Sugg, a forewoman, whose initials sug- 
gested an obvious nickname among the set of 
flippant girls she ruled with a severity that 
was also ungracious. "I'll not speak to you 
any more on the matter. Next time you'll be 
fired. Seel" 

Winifred's high color fled before this dire 
threat. Even the few dollars a week she 
earned by binding books was essential to the 
up-keep of her home. At any rate this fact 
was dinned into her ears constantly, and formed 
a ready argument against any change of em- 
ployment. 

"I'm sorry, Miss Sugg," she stammered. 
"I didn't think I had lost any time. Indeed, 
I started out earlier than usual." 

"Kubbish!" snorted Miss Sugg. "What 're 
givin' me? It's a fine day." 



"Yes," said Winifred timidly, "but unfor- 
tunately I stopped a while on Riverside Drive 
to watch the police bringing in the boat from 
which Mr. Tower was mur pulled into the 
river last night." 

"Riverside Drive!" snapped the forewoman. 
"Your address is East One Hundred and 
Twelfth Street, ain't it? What were you doing 
on Riverside Drive?" 

"I walk that way every morning unless it 
is raining." 

Miss Sugg looked incredulous, but felt that 
she was traveling outside her own territory. 

"Anyhow," she said, "that's your affair, not 
mine, an' it's no excuse for bein' late." 

"Oh, come now," intervened a man's voice, 
"this young lady is not so far behind time as 
to cause such a row. She can pull out a bit 
and make up for it." 

Miss Sugg wheeled wrathfully to find Mr. 
Fowle, manager on that floor, gazing at Wini- 
fred with marked approval. Fowle, a shifty- 
eyed man of thirty, compactly built, and some- 
what of a dandy, seldom gave heed to any of 
the girls employed by Brown, Son & Brown. 
His benevolent attitude toward Winifred was 
a new departure. 

"Young lady!" gasped the forewoman. She 
was in such a temper that other words failed. 

"Yes, she isn't an old one," smirked Fowle. 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 33 

" That's all right, Miss Bartlett, get on with 
your work. Miss Sugg's bark is worse than 
her bite." 

Though he had poured oil on the troubled 
waters his air was not altogether reassuring. 
Winifred went to her bench in a flurry of trep- 
idation. She dreaded the vixenish Miss Sugg 
less than the too complaisant manager. Some- 
how, she fancied that he would soon speak to 
her again ; when, a few minutes later, he drew 
near, and she felt rather than saw that he was 
staring at her boldly, she flushed to the nape 
of her graceful neck. 

Yet he put a quite orthodox question. 

"Did I get your story right when you came 
in?" he said. "I think you told Miss Sugg 
that the harbor police had picked up the mo- 
tor-boat in that yacht case." 

"So I heard," said Winifred. She was in 
charge of a wire-stitching machine, and her 
deft fingers were busy. Moreover, she was re- 
solved not to give Fowle any pretext for pro- 
longing the conversation. 

"Who told you?" 

The manager's tone grew a trifle less cor- 
dial. He was not accustomed to being held 
at arm's length by any young woman in the 
establishment whom he condescended to notice. 

"I really don't know," and Winifred began 
placing her array of work in sorted piles. 



34 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Indeed, I spoke carelessly. No one told me. 
I saw a commotion on Riverside Drive, and 
heard a man arguing with others that a boat 
then being towed by a police launch must be 
the missing one." 

Fowle 's whiff of annoyance had passed. He 
had jumped to the conclusion that such an ex- 
tremely pretty girl would surely own a sweet- 
heart who escorted her to and from work each 
day. He did not suspect that every junior 
clerk downstairs had in turn offered his ser- 
vices in this regard, but with such lack of suc- 
cess that each would-be suitor deemed Winifred 
conceited. 

"I wish I had been there," he said. "Do 
you go home the same way?" 

"No." 

Winifred was aware that the other girls 
were watching her furtively and exchanging 
meaning looks. 

"You take the Third Avenue L, I suppose?" 
persisted Fowle. Then Winifred faced him 
squarely. For some reason her temper got 
the better of her. 

"It is a house rule, Mr. Fowle," she said, 
"that the girls are forbidden to talk during 
working hours." 

"Nonsense," laughed Fowle. "I'm in 
charge here, an' what I say goes." 

Jle left her, however, and busied himself 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 35 

elsewhere. Apparently, he was even forgiving 
enough to call Miss Sugg out of the room and 
detain her all the rest of the morning. 

Winifred was promptly rallied by some of 
her companions. 

"I must say this for you, Winnie Bartlett, 
you don't think you're the whole shootin' 
match," said a stout, red-faced creature, who 
would have been more at home on a farm than 
in a New York warehouse, "but it gets my goat 
when you hand the mustard to Fowle in that 
w r ay. If he made goo-goo eyes at me, I'd play, 
too." 

"I wish little Carlotta was a blue-eyed, gold- 
en-haired queen," sighed another, a squat Nea- 
politan with the complexion of a Moor. 
"She's give Fowle a chance to dig into his 
pocketbook, believe me." 

The youthful philosopher won a chorus of 
approval. All the girls liked Winifred. They 
even tacitly admitted that she belonged to a 
different order, and seldom teased her. 
Fowle 's obvious admiration, however, imposed 
too severe a strain, and their tongues ran 
freely. 

The luncheon-hour came, and Winifred hur- 
ried out with the others. They patronized a 
restaurant in Fourteenth Street. At a news- 
stand she purchased an evening paper, a rare 
event, since she had to account for every cent 



36 THE BABTLETT MYSTERY 

of expenditure. Though allowed books, she 
was absolutely forbidden newspapers! 

But this forlorn girl, who knew so little of 
the great city in whose life she was such an in- 
significant item, felt oddly concerned in "The 
Yacht Mystery." It was the first noteworthy 
event of which she had even a remote first- 
hand knowledge. That empty launch, its very 
abondonment suggesting eeriness and fatality, 
was a tangible thing. Was she not one of the 
few who had literally seen it? So she invested 
her penny, and after reading of the discovery 
of the boat it was found moored to a wharf 
at the foot of Fort Lee breathlessly read: 

As the outcome of information given by a well- 
known Senator, the police have obtained an important 
clue which leads straight to a house in One Hundred 
and Twelfth Street. 

1 l Well," mused Winifred, wide-eyed wdth as- 
tonishment. "Fancy that! The very street 
where I live!" 

She read on : 

The arrest of at least one person, a woman, sus- 
pected of complicity in the crime may occur at any 
moment. Detectives are convinced that the trail of 
the murderers will soon be clearer. 

Every effort is being made to recover Mr. Tower's 
body, which, it is conceivable, may have been weigh tc 1 
and sunk in the river near the spot where the boat 
was tied. 



WINIFRED HEARS SOMETHING 37 

Winifred gave more attention to the news- 
paper report than to her frugal meal. Kesolv- 
ing, however, that Miss Sugg should have no 
further cause for complaint that day, she re- 
turned to the factory five minutes before time. 
An automobile was standing outside the en- 
trance, but she paid no heed to it. 

The checker tapped at his little window as 
she passed. 

''The boss wants you," he said. 

"Me!" she cried. Her heart sank. Between 
Miss Sugg and Mr. Fowle she had already 
probably lost her situation! 

"Yep," said the man. "You're Winifred 
Bartlett, I guess. Anyhow, if there's another 
peach like you in the bunch I haven't seen 
her." 

She bit her lip and tears trembled in her 
eyes. Perhaps the gruff Cerberus behind the 
window sympathized with her. He lowered his 
voice to a hoarse whisper: ''There's a cop in 
there, an' a 'tec,' too." 

Winifred was startled out of her forebod- 
ings. 

"They cannot want me!" she said amaz- 
edly. 

"Y0u never can tell, girlie. Queer jinks 
happen sometimes. I wouldn't bat an eye- 
lid if they rounded up the boss hisself." 

She was sure now that some stupid mistake 



38 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

had been made. At any rate, she no longer 
dreaded dismissal, and the first intuition of 
impending calamity yielded to a nervous 
curiosity as she pushed open a door leading to 
the general office. 



CHAPTER iy 

FURTHER SURPRISES 

A CLERK, one of the would-be swains who 
had met with chilling discouragement after 
working-hours, was evidently on the lookout 
for her. An ignoble soul prompted a smirk 
of triumph now. 

"Go straight in," he said, jerking a thumb. 
"A cop's waitin' for you." 

Winifred did not vouchsafe him even an in- 
dignant glance. Holding her head high, she 
passed through the main office, and made for 
a door marked "Manager." She knocked, 
and was admitted by Mr. Fowle. Grouped 
around a table she saw one of the members of 
the firm, the manager, a policeman, and a 
dapper little man, slight of figure, who held 
himself very erect. He was dressed in blue 
serge, and had the ivory-white face and wrin- 
kled skin of an actor. She was conscious at 
once of the penetration of his glance. His 
eyes were black and luminous. They seemed 
to pierce her with an X-ray quality of com- 
prehension. 

39 



40 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"This is the girl," announced Mr. Fowle 
deferentially. 

The little man in the blue suit took the lead 
forthwith. 

"You are Winifred Bartlett?" he said, and 
by some subtle inter-flow of magnetism Wini- 
fred knew instantly that she had nothing to 
fear from this diminutive stranger. 

"Yes," she replied, looking at him squarely. 

"You live in East One Hundred and Twelfth 
Street!" 

"Yes." 

"With a woman described as your aunt, and 
known as Miss Rachel Craik?" 

"Yes." 

Each affirmative marked a musical crescendo. 
Especially was Winifred surprised by the scep- 
tical description of her only recognized rela- 
tive. 

"Well," went on Clancy, suppressing a smile 
at the girl's na'ive astonishment, "don't be 
alarmed, but I want you to come with me to 
Mulberry Street." 

Now, Winifred had just been reading about 
certain activities in Mulberry Street, and her 
eyebrows rounded in real amazement. 

"Isn't that the Police Headquarters?" she 
asked. 

Fowle chuckled, whereupon Clancy said 
pleasantly : 



FURTHER SURPRISES 41 

"Yes. One man here seems to know the ad- 
dress quite intimately. But that fact need not 
set your heart fluttering. The chief of the De- 
tective Bureau wishes to put a few questions. 
That is all." 

"Questions about what?" 

Winifred's natural dignity came to her aid. 
She refused to have this grave matter treated 
as a joke. 

"Take my advice, Miss Bartlett, and don't 
discuss things further until you have met Mr. 
Steingall," said Clancy. 

"But I have never even heard of Mr. Stein- 
gall," she protested. "What right have you 
or he to take me away from my work to a police- 
station ? What wrong have I done to any one ? ' ' 

"None, I believe." 

"Surely I have a right to some explanation." 

"If you insist I am bound to answer." 

"Then I do insist," and Winifred's height- 
ened color and wrathful eyes only enhanced her 
beauty. Clancy spread his hands in a gesture 
inherited from a French mother. 

"Very well," he said. "You are required 
to give evidence concerning the death of Mr. 
Ronald Tower. Now, I cannot say any more. 
I have a car outside. You will be detained less 
than an hour. The same car will bring you 
back, and I think I can guarantee that your em- 
ployers will raise no difficulty." 



42 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

The head of the firm growled agreement. 
As a matter of fact the staid respectability of 
Brown, Son & Brown had sustained a shock by 
the mere presence of the police. Murder has 
an ugly aspect. It was often bound up in the 
firm's products, but never before had it entered 
that temple of efficiency in other guise. 

Clancy sensed the slow fermentation of the 
Pharisaical mind. 

"If I had known what sort of girl this was 
I would never have brought a policeman," he 
muttered into the great man's ear. "She has 
no more to do with this affair than you have." 

"It is very annoying very," was the peev- 
ish reply. 

"What is? Assisting the police?" 

"Oh, no. Didn't mean that, of course." 

The detective thought he might do more 
narm than good by pressing for a definition of 
the firm's annoyance. He turned to Winifred. 

"Are you ready, Miss Bartlett?" he said. 
"The only reason the Bureau has for troubling 
you is the accident of your address." 

Almost before the girl realized the new and 
astounding conditions which had come into her 
life she was seated in a closed automobile and 
speeding swiftly down-town. 

She was feminine enough, however, to ply 
Clancy with questions, and he had to fence with 
her, as it was all-important that such inf orma- 



FURTHER SURPRISES 43 

tion as she might be able to give should be im- 
parted when he and Steingall could observe 
her closely. The Bureau hugged no delusions. 
Its vast experience of the criminal world ren- 
dered misplaced sympathy with erring mortals 
almost impossible. Young or old, rich or poor, 
beautiful or ugly, the strange procession which 
passes in unending review before the police 
authorities is subjected to impartial yet search- 
ing analysis. Few of the guilty ones escape 
suspicion, no matter how slight the connecting 
clue or scanty the evidence. On the other hand, 
Steingall and his trusty aid seldom made a 
mistake when they decided, as Clancy had al- 
ready done in Winifred's case, that real inno- 
cence had come under the shadow of crime. 

Steingall shared Clancy's opinion the instant 
he set eyes on the new witness. He gazed at 
her with a humorous dismay that was wholly 
genuine. 

"Sit there, Miss Bartlett," he said, rising 
to place a chair for her. "Please don't feel 
nervous. I am sure you understand that only 
those who have broken the law need fear it. 
Now, you haven't killed anybody, have you?" 

Winifred smiled. She liked this big man's 
kindly manner. Really, the police were not 
such terrifying ogres when you came to close 
quarters with them. 

"No, indeed," she said, little guessing that 



44 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Clancy had indulged in a Japanese grimace be- 
hind her back, thereby informing his chief that 
"The Yacht Mystery" was still maintaining 
its claim to figure as one of the most sensa- 
tional crimes the Bureau had investigated dur- 
ing many a year. 

Steingall, wishing to put the girl wholly at 
ease, affected to consult some notes on his desk, 
but Winifred was too wrought up to keep silent. 

"The gentleman who brought me here told 
me that I would be required to give evidence 
concerning the murder of Mr. Ronald Tower," 
she said. "Believe me, sir, that unfortunate 
gentleman's name was unknown to me before I 
read it in this morning's paper. I have no 
knowledge of the manner of his death other 
than is contained in the account printed here 
in this newspaper." 

She proffered the newspaper purchased be- 
fore lunch, which she still held in her left hand. 
The impulsive action broadened Steingall 's 
smile. He was still utterly at a loss to account 
for this well-mannered girl's queer environ- 
ment. 

"Why," he cried, "I quite understand that. 
Mr. Clancy didn't tell you we regarded you as 
a desperate crook, did he?" 

Winifred yielded to the chief's obvious de- 
sire to lift their talk out of the rut of formality. 
She could not help being interested in these two 



FURTHER SURPRISES 45 

men, so dissimilar in their characteristics, yet 
each so utterly unlike the somewhat awesome 
personage she would have sketched if asked to 
define her idea of a "detective." Clancy, who 
had taken a chair at the side of the table, sat 
on it as though he were an automaton built of 
steel springs and ready to bounce instantly in 
any given direction. SteingalPs huge bulk 
lolled back indolently. He had been smoking 
when the others entered, and a half-consumed 
cigar lay on an ash-tray. Winifred thought it 
would be rather amusing if she, in turn, made 
things comfortable. 

" Please don't put away your cigar on my 
account," he said. "I like the smell of good 
tobacco." 

"Ha!" cackled Clancy. 

"Thank you," said Steingall, tucking the 
Havana into a corner of his mouth. The two 
men exchanged glances, and Winifred smiled. 
Steingall 's look of tolerant contempt at his 
assistant was distinctly amusing. 

"That little shrimp can't smoke, Miss Bart- 
lett," he explained, "so he is an anti-tobacco 
maniac." 

"You wouldn't care to take poison, would 
you?" and Clancy shot the words at Winifred 
so sharply that she was almost startled. 

"No. Of course not," she agreed. 

"Yet that is what that mountain of brawn 



46 

does during fourteen hours out of the twenty- 
four. Nicotine is one of the deadliest poisons 
known to science. Even when absorbed into 
the tissues in minute doses it corrodes the brain 
and atrophies the intellect. Did you see how 
he grinned when you described that vile weed 
as 'good tobacco'? Now, you don't know good, 
meaning real, tobacco from bad, do you ? ' ' 

"I know whether or not I like the scent of 
it," persisted Winifred. She began to think 
that officialdom in Mulberry Street affected the 
methods of the court circles frequented by Alice 
and the Mad Hatter. 

"Don't mind him," put in Steingall genially. 
"He's a living example of the close alliance be- 
tween insanity and genius. On the tobacco 
question he's simply cracked, and that is all 
there is to it. Now we're wasting your time 
by this chatter. I'll come to serious business 
by asking a question which you will not find 
embarrassing for a good many years yet to 
come. How old are you?" 

"Nineteen last birthday." 

"When were you born?" 

"On June 6, 1894." 

"And where?" 

Winifred reddened slightly. 

"I don't know," she said. 

"What?" 

Steingall seemed to be immensely surprised, 



FURTHER SURPRISES 47 

and Winifred proceeded forthwith to throw 
light on this singular admission, which was 
exactly what he meant her to do. 

' ' That is a very odd statement, but it is quite 
true," she said earnestly. "My aunt would 
never tell me where I was born. I believe it 
was somewhere in the New England States, but 
I have only the vaguest grounds for the 
opinion. What I mean is that aunty occa- 
sionally reveals a close familiarity with Boston 
and Vermont." 

"What is her full name?" 

"Rachel Craik." 

"She has never been married?" 

Winifred's sense of humor was keen. She 
laughed at the idea of "Aunt Rachel" having 
a husband. 

"I don't think aunty will ever marry any- 
body now," she said. "She holds the opposite 
sex in detestation. No man is ever admitted 
to our house." 

"It is a small, old-fashioned residence, 
but very large for the requirements of two 
women!" continued Steingall. He took no 
notes, and might have been discussing the 
weather, now that the first whiff of wonderment 
as to Winifred's lack of information about her 
birth-place had passed. 

"Yes. We have several rooms unoccupied." 

1 ' And unfurnished f ' ' 



48 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Say partly furnished." 

"Ever had any boarders?" 

"No." 

"No servants, of course?" 

"No." 

"And how long have you been employed in 
Messrs. Brown, Son & Brown's bookbinding 
department?" 

"About six months." 

"What do you earn!" 

"Eight dollars a week." 

"Is that the average amount paid to the 
other girls?" 

' ' Slightly above the average. I am supposed 
to be quick and accurate." 

"Well now, Miss Bartlett, you seem to be 
a very intelligent and well-educated young 
woman. How comes it that you are employed 
in such work?" 

"It was the best I could find," she volun- 
teered. 

"No doubt. But you must be well aware that 
few, if any, among the girls in the bookbinding 
business can be your equal in education, and, 
may I add, in refinement. Now, if you were a 
bookkeeper, a cashier or a typist, I could un- 
derstand it ; but it does seem odd to me that you 
should be engaged in this kind of job." 

"It was my aunt's wish," said Winifred 
simply. 



FURTHER SURPRISES 49 

"Ah!" 

Steingall dwelt on the monosyllable. 

"What reason did she give for such a singu- 
lar choice?" he went on. 

"I confess it has puzzled me," was the un- 
affected answer. "Although aunty is severe in 
her manner she is well educated, and she taught 
me nearly all I know, except music and singing, 
for which I took lessons from Signor Pecci 
ever since I was a tiny mite until about two 
years ago. Then, I believe, aunty lost a good 
deal of money, and it became necessary that I 
should earn something. Signor Pecci offered 
to get me a position in a theater, but she would 
not hear of it, nor would she allow me to enter 
a shop or a restaurant. Really, it was aunty 
who got me work with Messrs. Brown, Son & 
Brown." 

"In other words," said Steingall, "you were 
deliberately reared to fill a higher social sta- 
tion, and then, for no assignable reason, save 
a whim, compelled to sink to a much lower 
level?" 

"I do not know. I never disputed aunty's 
right to do w r hat she thought best." 

"Well, well, it is odd. Do you ever entertain 
any visitors?" 

"None whatever. We have no acquaint- 
ances, and live very quietly." 

"Do you mean to say that your aunt never 



50 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

sees any one but yourself and casual callers, 
such as tradespeople?" 

"So far as I know, that is absolutely the 
case." 

"Very curious," commented Steingall. 
"Does your aunt go out much?" 

"She leaves the house occasionally after I 
have gone to bed at ten o'clock, but that is sel- 
dom, and I have no idea where she goes. Every 
week-day, you know, I am away from home 
between seven in the morning and half past six 
at night, excepting Saturday afternoons. If 
possible, I take a long walk before going to 
work. ' ' 

"Do you go straight home?" 

Winifred remembered Mr. Fowle's query, 
and smiled again. 

"Yes," she said. 

"Now last night, for instance, was your aunt 
at home when you reached the house ? ' ' 

"No; she was out. She did not come in until 
half past nine." 

"Did she go out again last night?" 

"I do not know. I was tired. I went to bed 
rather early." 

Steingall bent over his notes for the first time 
since Winifred appeared. His lips were pursed, 
and he seemed to be weighing certain facts 
gravely. 

"I think," he said at last, "that I need not 



FURTHER SURPRISES 51 

detain you any longer, Miss Bartlett. By the 
way, I'll give you a note to your employers to 
say that you are in no way connected with the 
crime we have under investigation. It may, 
perhaps, save you needless annoyance." 

"Thank you, sir," said the girl. "But won't 
you tell me why you have asked me so many 
questions about my aunt and her ways?" 

Steingall looked at her thoughtfully before 
he answered: "In the first place, Miss Bart- 
lett, tell me this. I assume Miss Craik is your 
mother's sister. When did your mother 
die?" 

Winifred blushed with almost childish dis- 
comfiture. "It may seem very stupid to say 
such a thing," she admitted, "but I have never 
known either a father or a mother. My aunt 
has always refused to discuss our family affairs 
in any way whatever. I fear her view is that 
I am somewhat lucky to be alive at all." 

"Few people would be found to agree with 
her," said the chief gallantly. "Now I want 
you to be brave and patient. A very extraor- 
dinary crime has been committed, and the police 
occasionally find clues in the most unexpected 
quarters. I regret to tell you that Miss Craik 
is believed to be in some way connected with 
the mysterious disappearance, if not the death, 
of Mr. Ronald Tower, and she is being held for 
further inquiries." 



52 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Winifred's face blanched. "Do you mean 
that she will be kept in prison?" she said, with 
a break in her voice. 

"She must be detained for a while, but you 
need not be so alarmed. Her connection with 
this outrage may be as harmless as your own, 
though I can inform you that, without your 
knowledge, your house last night certainly 
sheltered two men under grave suspicion, and 
for whom we are now searching. ' ' 

"Two men! In our house!" cried the amazed 
girl. 

"Yes. I tell you this to show you the neces- 
sity there is for calmness and reticence on your 
part. Don't speak to any one concerning your 
visit here. Above all else, don't be afraid. Have 
you any one with whom you can go to live until 
Miss Craik is" he corrected himself "until 
matters are cleared up a bit?" 

"No," wailed Winifred, her pent-up feelings 
breaking through all restraint. "I am quite 
alone in the world now." 

"Come, come, cheer up!" said Steingall, ris- 
ing and patting her on the shoulder. "This 
disagreeable business may only last a day or 
two. You will not want for anything. If you 
are in any trouble all you need do is to let 
me know. Moreover, to save you from being 
afraid of remaining alone in the house at night, 
I'll give special instructions to the police in 



FURTHER SURPRISES 53 

your precinct to watch the place closely. Now, 
be a brave girl and make the best of it." 

The house in One Hundred and Twelfth 
Street would, of course, be an object of special 
interest to the police for other reasons apart 
from those suggested by the chief. Neverthe- 
less, his kindness had the desired effect, and 
"Winifred strove to repress her tears. 

"Here is your note," he said, "and I advise 
you to forget this temporary trouble in your 
work. Mr. Clancy will accompany you in the 
car if you wish." 

"Please I would rather be alone," she fal- 
tered. She was far from Mulberry Street be- 
fore she- remembered that she had said nothing 
about seeing the boat that morning ! 






CHAPTER V 

PERSECUTORS 

DURING the brief run up-town Winifred man- 
aged to dry her tears, yet the mystery and 
terror of the circumstances into which she was 
so suddenly plunged seemed to become more 
distressful the longer she puzzled over them. 
She could not find any outlet from a labyrinth 
of doubt and uncertainty. She strove again to 
read the printed accounts of the crime, in order 
to wrest from them some explanation of the 
extraordinary charge brought against her aunt, 
but the words danced before her eyes. At last, 
with an effort, she threw the paper away and 
bravely resolved to follow Steingall's parting 
advice. 

When she reached the warehouse she was nat- 
urally the object of much covert observation. 
Neither Miss Sugg nor Mr. Fowle spoke to her, 
but Winifred thought she saw a malicious smile 
on the forewoman's face. The hours passed 
wearily until six o'clock. She was about to 
quit the building with her companions many 
of whom meant bombarding her with questions 

54 



PERSECUTORS 55 

at the first opportunity when she was again 
requested to report at the office. 

A clerk handed her one of the firm's pay 
envelopes. 

"What's comin' to you up to date," he 
blurted out, "and a week's salary instead of 
notice." 

She was dismissed! 

Some girls might have collapsed under this 
final blow, but not so Winifred Bartletfe, 
Knowing it was useless to say anything to the 
clerk, she spiritedly demanded an interview 
with the manager. This was refused. She in- 
sisted, and sent Steingall's letter to the inner 
sanctum, having concluded that the dismissal 
was in some way due to her visit to the detec- 
tive bureau. 

The clerk came back with the note and a mes- 
sage: "The lirm desire me to tell you," he 
said, "that they quite accept your explanation, 
but they have no further need of your servi- 
ces." 

Explanation ! How could a humble employee 
explain away the unsavory fact that the smug 
respectability of Brown, Son & Brown had been 
outraged by the name of the firm appearing in 
the evening papers as connected, even in the 
remotest way, with the sensational crime now 
engaging the attention of all New York? 

Winifred walked into the street. Something 



56 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

in her face warned even the most inquisitive of 
her fellow-workers to leave her alone. Besides, 
the poor always evince a lively sympathy with 
others in misfortune. These working-class girls 
were consumed with curiosity, yet they respect- 
ed Winifred's feelings, and did not seek to 
intrude on her very apparent misery by inquiry 
or sympathetic condolence. A few among them 
watched, and even followed her a little way as 
she turned the corner into Fourteenth Street. 

"She goes home by the Third Avenue L," 
said Carlotta. ' ' Sometimes I've walked with her 
that far. H'lo! Why's Fowle goin' east in a 
taxi! He lives on West Seventeenth. Betcher 
a dime he's after Winnie." 

"Whadda ya mean after her!" cried an- 
other girl. 

"Why, didn't you hear how he spoke up for 
her this mornin' when Ole Mother Sugg handed 
her the lemon about bein' late!" 

"But he got her fired." 

"G'wan!" 

"He did, I tell you. I heard him phonin* a 
newspaper. He made 'em wise about Winnie's 
bein' pinched, and then took the paper to the 
boss. I was below with a packin' check when 
he went in, so I saw that with my own eyes, an' 
that's just as far as I'd trust Fowle." 

The cynic's shrewd surmise was strictly ac- 
curate. Fowle had, indeed, secured Winifred's 



PERSECUTORS 57 

dismissal. Her beauty and disdain had stirred 
his lewd impulses to their depths. His plan 
now was to intercept her before she reached her 
home, and pose as the friend in need who is 
the most welcome of all friends. Knowing 
nothing whatsoever of her domestic surround- 
ings he deemed it advisable to make inquiries 
on the spot. His crafty and vulpine nature 
warned him against running his head into a 
noose, since Winifred might own a strong- 
armed father or brother, but no one could pos- 
sibly resent a well-meant effort at assistance. 

The mere sight of her graceful figure as she 
hurried along with pale face and downcast eyes 
inflamed. him anew when his taxi sped by. She 
could not avoid him now. He would go up-town 
by an earlier train, and await her at the corner 
of One Hundred and Twelfth Street. 

But the wariest fox is apt to find his paw in 
a trap, and Fowle, though foxy, was by no 
means so astute as he imagined himself. Once 
again that day Fate was preparing a surprise 
for Winifred, and not the least dramatic feature 
thereof connoted the utter frustration and 
undoing of Fowle. 

About the time that Winifred caught her 
train it befell that Bex Carshaw, gentleman of 
leisure, the most industrious idler who ever 
extracted dividends from a business he cared 
little about, drove a high-powered car across 



58 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

the Harlem River by the Willis Avenue Bridge, 
and entered that part of Manhattan which lies 
opposite Randall's Island. 

This was a new world to the eyes of the young 
millionaire. Nor was it much to his liking. The 
mixed citizenry of New York must live some- 
where, but Carshaw saw no reason why he and 
his dainty car should loiter in a district which 
seemed highly popular with all sorts of unde- 
sirable folks ; so, after skirting Thomas Jeffer- 
son Park he turned west, meaning to reach the 
better roadway and more open stretches of 
Fifth Avenue. 

A too hasty express wagon, however, heed- 
less of the convenience of wealthy automobil- 
ists, bore down on Carshaw like a Juggernaut 
car, and straightway smashed the differ- 
ential, besides inflicting other grievous injuries 
on a complex mechanism. A policeman, the 
proprietor of a neighboring garage, and a 
greatly interested crowd provided an im- 
promptu jury for the dispute between Carshaw 
and the express man. 

The latter put up a poor case. It consisted 
almost entirely of the bitter and oft-repeated 
plaint : 

"What was a car like that doin' here, any- 
how I r ' 

The question sounded foolish. It was nothing 
of the kind. Only the Goddess of Wisdom 



could have answered it, and she, being invisible, 
was necessarily dumb. 

At last, when the damaged car was housed for 
the night, Carshaw set out to walk a couple of 
blocks to the elevated railway, his main objec- 
tive being dinner with his mother in their apart- 
ment on Madison Avenue. He found himself 
in a comparatively quiet street, wherein blocks 
of cheap modern flats alternated with the dingy 
middle-class houses of a by-gone generation. 
He halted to light a cigarette, and, at that mo- 
ment, a girl of remarkable beauty passed, walk- 
ing quickly, yet without apparent effort. Sh 
was pallid and agitated, and her eyes were 
swimming with ill-repressed tears. 

As a matter of fact, Winifred nearly broke 
down at sight of her empty abode. It was a 
cheerless place at best, and now the thought of 
being left there alone had induced a sense of 
feminine helplessness which overcame her 
utterly. 

Carshaw was distinctly impressed. In the 
first place, he was young and good-looking, and 
human enough to try and steal a second glance 
at such a lovely face, though the steadily de- 
creasing light was not altogether favorable. 
Secondly, he thought he had .never seen any girl 
who carried herself with such rhythmic grace. 
Thirdly, here was a woman in distress, and, to 
one of Carshaw 's temperament and upbringing, 



60 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

that in itself formed a convincing reason why 
he should wish to help her. 

He racked his brain for a fitting excuse to 
offer his services. He could find none. Above 
all else, Kex Carshaw was a gentleman. 

Of course, he could not tell that the way was 
being made smooth for knight-errantry by a 
certain dragon named Fowle. He did not even 
quicken his pace, and was musing on the curi- 
ous incongruity of the maid in distress with the 
rather squalid district in which she had her 
being when he saw a man bar her path. 

This was Fowle, who, with lifted hat, was 
saying deferentially: ''Miss Bartlett, may I 
have a word?" 

Winifred stopped as though she had run into 
an unseen obstruction. She even recoiled a step 
or two. 

"What do you want!'* she said, and there 
was a quality of scorn, perhaps of fear, in her 
voice that sent Carshaw, now five yards away, 
into the open doorwaj r of a block of flats. He 
was an impulsive young man. He liked the 
girl's face, and quite as fixedly disliked 
Fowle 's. So he adopted the now world-famous 
policy of watchful waiting, being not devoid of 
a dim belief that the situation might evolve an 
overt act. 

"I want to tell you how sorry I am for what 
happened to-day," said Fowle, trying to speak 



PERSECUTORS 61 

sympathetically, but not troubling to veil the 
bold admiration of his stare. "I tried hard 
to stop unpleasantness, and even risked a row 
with the boss. But it was no use. I couldn't 
do a thing." 

"But why are you here?" demanded Wini- 
fred, and those sorrow-laden eyes of hers 
might have won pity from any but one of 
Fowle's order. 

"To help, of course," came the ready assur- 
ance. "I can get you a far better job than 
stitchin' octavos at Brown's. You're not mean- 
in' to stay home with your folks, I suppose?" 

"That is kind of you," said Winifred. "I 
may have to depend altogether on my own 
efforts, so I shall need work. I'll write to you 
for a reference, and perhaps for advice." 

She had unwittingly told Fowle just what 
he was eager to know that she was friendless 
and alone. He prided himself on understand- 
ing the ways of women, and lost no more time 
in coming to the point. 

"Listen, now, Winnie," he said, drawing 
nearer, "I'd like to see you through this worry. 
Forget it. You can draw down twice or three 
times the money as a model in Goldberg's Store. 
I know Goldberg, an' can fix things. An', say, 
why mope at home evenings ? I often get orders 
for two for the theaters an' vaudeville shows. 
What about comin' along down-town to-night? 



62 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

A bit of dinner an' a cabaret 'd cheer you up 
after to-day's unpleasantness." 

Winifred grew scarlet with vexation. The 
man had always been a repulsive person in her 
eyes, and, unversed though she was in the 
world's wiles, she knew instinctively that his 
present pretensions were merely a cloak for 
rascality. One should be fair to Winifred, too. 
Like every other girl, she had pictured the 
Prince Charming who would come into her life 
some day. But Fowle ! Her gorge rose. 

"How dare you follow me here and say such 
vile things?" she cried hysterically. 

"What's up now?" said Fowle in mock sur- 
prise. "What have I said that you should fly 
off the trolley in that way?" 

"I take it that this young lady is telling you 
to quit," broke in another voice. "Go, now! 
Go while the going is good." 

Quietly but firmly elbowing Fowle aside, Rex 
Carshaw raised his hat and spoke to Winifred. 

"If this fellow is annoying you he can soon 
be dealt with, "he said. "Do you live near? If 
so, he can stop right here. I'll occupy his mind 
till you are out of sight. ' ' 

The discomfited masher was snarling like a 
vicious cur. The first swift glance that meas- 
ured the intruder's proportions did not warrant 
any display of active resentment on his part. 
Out of the tail of his eye, however, he noticed 



PERSECUTORS 63 

a policeman approaching on the opposite side 
of the street. The sight lent a confidence which 
might have been lacking otherwise. 

4 'Why are you buttin' in!" he cried furi- 
ously. ''This young lady is a friend of mine. 
I'm try in* to pull her out of a difficulty, but 
she's got me all wrong. Anyhow, what busi- 
ness is it of yours!" 

Fowle 's anger was wasted, since Carshaw 
seemed not to hear. Indeed, why should a 
chivalrous young man pay heed to Fowle 
when he could gaze his fill into Winifred's 
limpid eyes and listen to her tuneful voice? 

"I am very greatly obliged to you," she was 
saying, '"but I hope Mr. Fowle understands 
now that I do not desire his company and will 
not seek to force it on me." 

"Sure he understands. Don't you, Fowle?" 
and Carshaw gave the disappointed wooer a 
look of such manifest purpose that something 
had to happen quickly. Something did happen. 
Fowle knew the game was up, and behaved 
after the manner of his kind. 

"You're a cute little thing, Winifred Bart- 
lett," he sneered, with a malicious glance from 
the girl to Carshaw, while a coarse guffaw 
imparted venom to his utterance. "Think 
you're taking an easier road to the white lights, 
I guess?" 

"Guess again, Fowle," said Carshaw. 



64 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

He spoke so quietly that Fowle was misled, 
because the pavement rose and struck him vio- 
lently on the back of his head. At least, that 
was his first impression. The second and more 
lasting one was even more disagreeable. When 
he sat up, and fumbled to recover his hat, he 
was compelled to apply a handkerchief to his 
nose, which seemed to have been reduced to a 
pulp. 

"Too bad you should be mixed up in this dis- 
turbance," Carshaw was assuring Winifred, 
"but a pup of the Fowle species can be taught 
manners in only one way. Now, suppose you 
hurry home ! ' ' 

The advice was well meant, and Winifred 
acted on it at once. Fowle had scrambled to 
his feet and the policeman was running up. 
From east and west a crowd came on the scene 
like a well-trained stage chorus rushing in from 
the wings. 

"Now, then, what's the trouble?" demanded 
the law, with gruff insistency. 

"Nothing. A friend of mine met with a 
slight accident that's all," said Carshaw. 

"It's it's all right," agreed Fowle thickly. 
Some glimmer of reason warned him that an 
expose in the newspapers would cost him his 
job with Brown, Son & Brown. The policeman 
eyed the damaged nose. He grinned. 

"If you care to take a wallop like that as a 



PERSECUTORS 65 

friendly tap it's your affair, not mine," he said. 
"Anyhow, beat it, both of you!" 

Carshaw was not interested in Fowle or the 
policeman. He had been vouchsafed one 
expressive look by Winifred as she hurried 
away, and he watched the slim figure darting 
up half a dozen steps to a small brown-stone 
house, and opening the door with a latch-key. 
Oddly enough, the policeman's attention was 
drawn by the girl's movements. His air 
changed instantly. 

"H'lo," he said, evidently picking on Fowle 
as the doubtful one of these two. "This must 
be inquired into. "What's your name!" 

"No matter. I make no charge." 

Fowle was turning away, but the policeman 
grabbed him. 

"You come with me to the station-house," 
he said determinedly. "An' you, too," he 
added jerking his head at Carshaw. 

"Have you gone crazy with the heat?" 
inquired Carshaw. 

"I hold you for fighting in the public street, 
an' that's all there is to it," was the firm reply. 
"You can come quietly or be 'cuffed, just as 
you like. Clear off, the rest of you." 

An awe-stricken mob backed hastily. Fowle 
was too dazed even to protest, and Carshaw 
sensed some hidden but definite motive behind 
the policeman's strange alternation of moods. 



66 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

He locked again at the brown-stone house, but 
night was closing in so rapidly that he could not 
distinguish a face at any of the windows. 

"Let us get there quickly I'll be late for 
dinner," he said, and the three returned by the 
way Carshaw had come. 

Thus it was that Rex Carshaw, eligible 
young society bachelor, was drawn into the 
ever- widening vortex of "The Yacht Mystery." 
He did not recognize it yet, but was destined 
soon to feel the force of its swirling currents. 

Gazing from a window of the otherwise 
deserted house Winifred saw both her assail- 
ant and her protector marched off by the police- 
man. It was patent, even to her benumbed wits, 
that they had been arrested. The tailing-in of 
the mob behind the trio told her as much. 

She was too stunned to do other than sink 
into a chair. For a while she feared she was 
going to faint. With lack-lustre eyes she peered 
into a gulf of loneliness and despair. Then out- 
raged nature came to her aid, and she burst into 
a storm of tears. 



CHAPTER VI 

BKOTHEB RALPH, 

CLANCY forced Senator Meikle John's hand 
early in the fray. He was at the Senator's 
flat within an hour of the time Ronald Tower 
was dragged into the Hudson, but a smooth- 
spoken English man-servant assured the de- 
tective that his master was out, and not ex- 
pected home until two or three in the morning. 

This arrangement obviously referred to the 
Van Hofen festivity, so Clancy contented him- 
self with asking the valet to give the Senator a 
card on which he scribbled a telephone number 
and the words, "Please ring up when you get 
this." 

Now, he knew, and Senator Meiklejohn knew, 
the theater at which Mrs. Tower was enjoying 
herself. He did not imagine for an instant that 
the Senator was discharging the mournful duty 
of announcing to his friend's wife the lament- 
able fate which had overtaken her husband. 
Merely as a perfunctory duty he went to the 
theater and sought the manager. 

"You know Mrs. Ronald Tower?" he said. 

67 



68 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 



"Sure I do," said the official. "She's inside 
now. Came here with Bobby Forrest." 

"Anybody called for her recently 1 !" 

"I think not, but I'll soon find out." 

No. Mrs. Tower's appreciation of Belasco's 
genius had not been disturbed that evening. 

"Anything wrong?" inquired the manager. 

Clancy's answer was ready. 

"If Senator Meiklejohn comes here within 
half an hour, see that the lady is told at once," 
he said. "If he doesn't show up in that time, 
send for Mr. Forrest, tell him that Mr. Tower 
has met with an accident, and leave him to look 
after the lady." 

"Wow! Is it serious! Why wait!" 

"The slight delay won't matter, and the Sen- 
ator can handle the situation better than For- 
rest." 

Clancy gave some telephonic instruction to 
the man on night duty at headquarters. He 
even dictated a paragraph for the press. Then 
he went straight to bed, for the hardiest detec- 
tives must sleep, and he had a full day's work' 
before him when next the sun rose over New 
York 

He summed up Meiklejohn 's action cor- 
rectly. The Senator did not communicate with 
Mulberry Street during the night, so Clancy 
was an early visitor at his apartment. 



BROTHER RALPH 69 

"The Senator is ill and can see no one," said 
the valet. 

"No matter how ill he may be, he must see 
me," retorted Clancy. 

"But he musn't be disturbed. I have my 
orders." 

"Take a fresh set. He's going to be dis- 
turbed right now, by you or me. Choose 
quick!" 

The law prevailed. A few minutes later Sen- 
ator Meiklejohn entered the library sitting- 
room, where the little detective awaited him. 
He looked wretchedly ill, but his sufferings 
were mental, not physical. Examined critically 
now, in the cold light of day, he was a very dif- 
ferent man frotn the spruce, dandified politician 
and financier who figured so prominently among 
Van Hofen's guests the previous evening. Yet 
Clancy saw at a glance that the Senator was 
armed at all points. Diplomacy would be use- 
less. The situation demanded a bludgeon. He 
began the attack at once. 

"Why didn't you ring up Mulberry Street 
last night, Senator?" he said. 

"I was too upset. My nerves were all in." 

"You told the patrolman at Eighty-Sixth 
Street that you were hurrying away to break 
the news to Mrs. Tower, yet you did not go near 
her?" 



70 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Meiklejolm affected to consult Clancy's card 
to ascertain the detective's name. 

"Perhaps I had better get in touch with the 
Bureau now," he said, and a flush of anger 
darkened his haggard face. 

"No need. The Bureau is right here. Let 
us get down to brass tacks, Senator. A 
woman named Rachel met you outside the Four 
Hundred Club at eight o'clock as you were 
coming out. You had just spoken to Mrs. 
Tower, when this woman told you that you 
must meet two men who would ;t\vait you at the 
Eighty-Sixth landing-stage at nine. You were 
to bring five hundred dollars. At nine o'clock 
these same men killed Mr. Tower, and you 
yourself admitted to me that they mistook him 
for you. Now, will you be good enough to fill 
in the blanks'? Who is Rachel? Where does 
she live I Who were the two men I Why should 
you give them five hundred dollars, apparently 
as blackmail V 

Clancy was exceedingly disappointed by the 
result of this thunderbolt. Any ordinary man 
would have shrivelled under its crushing im- 
pact. If the police knew so much that might rea- 
sonably be regarded as secret, of what avail was 
further concealment? Yet Senator Meiklejohn 
bore up wonderfully. He showed surprise, as 
well he might, but was by no means pulverized. 

"All this is rather marvelous," he said 



BROTHER RALPH 71 

slowly, after a long pause. He had avoided 
Clancy's gaze after the first few words, and 
sank into an armchair with an r.ir of weariness 
that was not assumed. 

11 Simple enough," commented the detective 
readily. Above all else he wanted Meiklejohn 
to talk. "I was on duty outside the club, and 
heard almost every word that passed between 
you and liachel." 

1 'Well, well." 

The Senator arose and pressed an electric 
bell. - 

"If you don't mind," he explained suavely, 
"I'll order some coffee and rolls. Will you join 
me?" 

This was the parry of a skilled duelist to 
divert an attack and gain breathing-time. 
Clancy rather admired such adroitness. 

"Sorry, I can't on principle," he countered. 

"How on principle?" 

"You see, Senator, I may have to arrest you, 
and I never eat with any man with whom I may 
clash professionally." 

"You take risks, Mr. Clancy." 

"I love 'em. I'd cut my job to-day if it 
wasn't for the occasional excitement." 

The valet appeared. 

"Coffee and rolls for two, Phillips," said 
Meiklejohn. He turned to Clancy. "Perhaps 
you would prefer toast and an egg?" 



72 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"I haWe breakfasted already, Senator," 
smiled the detective, "but I may dally with the 
coffee." 

When the door was closed on Phillips, his 
master glanced at a clock on the mantelpiece. 
The hour was eight-fifteen. Some days elapsed 
before Clancy interpreted that incident cor- 
rectly. 

"You rose early," said the Senator. 

"Yes, but worms are coy this morning." 

"Meaning that you still await answers to 
your questions. I'll deal with you fully and 
frankly, but I'm curious to know on what con- 
ceivable ground you could arrest me for the 
murder of my friend Ronald Tower." 

"As an accessory before the act." 

"But, consider. You have brains, Mr. 
Clancy. I am glad the Bureau sent such a man. 
How can a bit of unthinking generosity on my 
part be construed as participation in a crime?" 

"If you explain matters, Senator, the absur- 
dity of the notion may become clear." 

"Ah, that's better. Let me assure you that 
my coffee will not affect your fine sensibilities. 
Miss Rachel Craik is a lady I have known 
nearly all my life. I have assisted her, within 
my means. She resides in East One Hundred 
and Twelfth Street, and the man about whom 
she was so concerned last night is her brother. 
He committed some technical offense years ago, 



BROTHER RALPH 73 

and has always been a ne'er-do-well. To please 
his sister, and for no other reason, I undertook 
to provide him with five hundred dollars, and 
thus enable him to start life anew. I have never 
met the man. I would not recognize him if I 
saw him. I believe he is a desperate character ; 
his maniacal behavior last night seems to leave 
no room for doubt in that respect. Don't you 
see, Mr. Clancy, that it was I, and not poor 
Tower, whom he meant attacking? But for idle 
chance, it is my corpse, not Tower's, that would 
now be floating in the Hudson. You heard what 
Tower said. I did not. I assume, however, 
that some allusion was made to the money 
which, by the way, is still in my pocketbook 
and Tower scoffed at the notion that he had 
come there to hand over five hundred dollars. 
There you have the whole story, in so far as 
I can tell it." 

"For the present, Senator. 

"How?" 

"It should yield many more chapters. Is that 
all you're going to say? For instance, did you 
call on Rachel Craik after leaving Eighty-Sixth 
Street?" 

Meikle John's jaws closed like a steel trap. 
He almost lost his temper. 

"No," he said, seemingly conquering the 
desire to blaze into anger at this gadfly of a 
detective. 



74 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

''Sure?" 

"I said 'no.' That is not 'yes.' I was so 
overcome by Tower's miserable fate that I dis- 
missed my car and walked home. I could not 
face any one, least of all Helen Mrs. Tower." 

"Or the Bureau?" 

"Mr. Clancy, you annoy me." 

Clancy stood up. 

"I must duck your coffee, Senator," he said 
cheerfully. "Is Miss Craik on the phone?" 

"No. She is poor, and lives alone or, to be 
correct, with a niece, I believe. ' ' 

"Well, think matters over. I'll see you again 
soon. Then you may be able to tell me some 
more." 

"I have told you everything." 

"Perhaps 7 may do the telling." 

"Now, as to this poor woman, Miss Craik. 
You will not adopt harsh measures, I trust?" 

"We are never harsh, Senator. If she speaks 
the truth, and all the truth, she need not fear." 

In the hall Clancy met the valet, carrying a 
laden tray. 

"Do you make good coffee, Phillips'?" he 
inquired. 

"I try to," smiled the other. 

"Ah, that's modest that's the way real 
genius speaks. Sorry I can't sample your brew 
^to-day. So few Englishmen know the first 
thing about coffee." 



BROTHER RALPH 75 

"Nice, friendly little chap," was Phillips 's 
opinion of the detective. Senator Meikle John's 
description of the same person was widely dif- 
ferent. When Clancy went out, he, too, rose and 
stretched his stiff limbs. 

"I got rid of that little rat more easily than 
I expected," he mused that is to say, the Sen- 
ator's thoughts may be estimated in some such 
phrase. But he was grievously mistaken in his 
belief. Clancy was no rat, but a most stubborn 
terrier when there were rats around. 

While Meiklejohn was drinking his coffee the 
telephone rang. It was Mrs. Tower. She was 
heartbroken, or professed to be, since no more 
selfish woman existed in New York. 

"Are you coming to see me!" she wailed. 

"Yes, yes, later in the day. At present I 
dare not. I am too unhinged. Oh, Helen, what 
a tragedy! Have you any news?" 

"News! My God! What news can I hope for 
except that Ronald's poor, maimed body has 
been found?" 

"Helen, this is terrible. Bear up!" 

"I'm doing my best. I can hardly believe 
that this thing has really happened. Help me 
in one small way, Senator. Telephone Mr. 
Jacob and explain why our luncheon is post- 
poned." 

"Yes, I'll do that." 

Meiklejohn smiled grimly as he hung up the 



76 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

receiver. In the midst of her tribulations 
Helen Tower had not forgotten Jacob and the 
little business of the Costa Rica Cotton Conces- 
sion! The luncheon was only "postponed." 

An inquiry came from a newspaper, where- 
upon he gave a curt order that no more calls 
were to be made that day, as the apartment 
would be empty. He dressed, and devoted him- 
self forthwith to the task of overhauling papers. 
He had a fire kindled in the library. 

Hour after hour he worked, until the grate 
was littered with the ashes of destroyed docu- 
ments. Sending for newspapers, he read 
of Rachel Craik's arrest. At last, when the 
light waned, he looked at his watch. Should he 
not face his fellow-members at the Four Hun- 
dred Club I Would it not betray weakness to 
shirk the ordeal of inquiry, of friendly scrutiny 
and half-spoken wonder that he, the irreproach- 
able, should be mixed up in such a weird 
tragedy. Once he sought support from a decan- 
ter of brandy. 

' 'Confound it!" he muttered, "why am I so 
shaky. I didn't murder Tower. My whole life 
may be ruined by one false step!" 

He was still pondering irresolutely a visit to 
the club when Phillips came. The valet seemed 
flurried. 

"There's a gentleman outside, sir, who 
insists on seeing you," he said nervously. 



BROTHER RALPH 77 

"He's a very violent gentleman, sir. He said 
if I didn't announce him he " 

"What name!" interrupted Meiklejohn. 

"Name of Voles, sir." 

"Voles?" 

"Yes, sir, but he says you'll recognize him 
better by the initials R. V. V." 

Men of Meikle John's physique big, fleshy, 
with the stamp of success on them are rare 
subjects for nervous attacks. They seem to 
defy events which will shock the color out of 
ordinary men's cheeks, yet Meikle John felt that 
if he dared encounter the eyes of his discreet 
servant he would do something outrageous 
shriek, or jump, or tear his hair. He bent over 
some papers on the table. 

"Send Mr. Voles in," he murmured. "If any 
other person calls, say I'm engaged." 

The man who was ushered into the room was 
of a stature and demeanor which might well 
have cowed the valet. Tall, strongly built, alto- 
gether fitter and more muscular than the stal- 
wart Senator, he carried with him an impres- 
sion of truculence, of a savage forcefulness, not 
often clothed in the staid garments of city life. 
Were his skin bronze, were he decked in the bar- 
baric trappings of a Pawnee chief, his appear- 
ance would be more in accord with the chill and 
repellant significance of his personality. His 
square, hard features might have been chiseled 



78 

out of granite. A pair of singularly dark eyes 
blazed beneath heavy and prominent eyebrows. 
A high forehead, a massive chin, and a well- 
shaped nose lent a certain intellectuality to the 
face, but this attribute was negatived by the 
coarse lines of a brutal mouth. 

From any point of view the visitor must 
invite attention, while compelling dislike even 
fear. In a smaller frame, such qualities might 
escape recognition, but this man's giant phy- 
sique accentuated the evil aspect of eyes and 
mouth. Hardly waiting till the door was closed, 
he laughed sarcastically. 

"You are well fixed here, brother o' mine," 
he said. 

The man whom he addressed as "brother" 
leaned with his hands on the table that sepa- 
rated them. His face \vas quite ghastly. All 
his self-control seemed to have deserted him. 

"You?" he gasped. "To come here! Are 
you mad?" 

"Need you ask? It will not be the first time 
you have called me a lunatic, nor will it be the 
last, I reckon." 

"But the risk, the infernal risk! The police 
know of you. Rachel is arrested. A detective 
was here a few hours ago. They are probably 
watching outside." 

"Bosh!" was the uncompromising answer. 
"Fm sick of being hunted. Just for a change 



BROTHER RALPH 79 

I turn hunter. Where 's the mazuma you prom- 
ised Rachel!" 

Meiklejohn, using a hand like one in a palsy, 
produced a pocketbook and took from it a bun- 
dle of notes. 

"Here!" he quavered. "Now, for Heaven's 
sake " 

"Just the same old William," cried the 
stranger, seating himself unceremoniously. 
"Always ready to do a steal, but terrified lest 
the law should grab him. No, I'm not going. 
It will be good nerve tonic for you to sit down 
and talk while you strain your ears to hear the 
tramp of half a dozen cops in the hall. What a 
poor fish you are!" he continued, voice and 
manner revealing a candid contempt, as Meik- 
lejohn did indeed start at the slamming of a 
door somewhere in the building. "Do you think 
I'd risk my neck if I were likely to be pinched? 
Gad ! I know my way around too well for that." 

"But you don't understand," whispered the 
other in mortal terror. "By some means the 
detective bureau may know of your existence. 
Rachel promised to be close-lipped, but 

1 ' Oh, take a bracer out of that decanter. At 
the present moment I am registered in a big 
Fifth Avenue hotel, a swell joint which they 
wouldn't suspect in twenty years." 

' * How can that be T Rachel said you were in 
desperate need." 



80 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"So I was until I went through that idiot's 
pockets. He had two hundred dollars in bills 
and chicken-feed. I knew I'd get another wad 
from you to-night." 

"Why did you want to murder me, Ralph?'* 
"Murder! Oh, shucks! I didn't want to kill 
anybody. But I don't trust you, William. I'm 
always expecting you to double-cross me. Last 
night it was a lasso. To-night it is this." And 
he suddenly whipped out a revolver. 



CHAPTER VII 

STILL MERE MYSTERY 

MEIKLEJOHN pushed his chair back so quickly 
that it caught the fender and brought down 
some fire-irons with a crash. 

"More nerves!" croaked his grim-visaged 
relative, but the revolver disappeared. 

"Tell me," said the tortured Meiklejohn; 
"why have you returned to New York? Above 
all, why did you straightway commit a crime 
that cannot fail to stir the whole country?" 

"That's better. You are showing some sort 
of brotherly interest. I came back because I 
was sick of mining camps and boundless sier- 
ras. I had a hankering after the old life the 
theaters, dinners, race-meetings, wine and 
women. As to 'the crime,' I thought that fool 
was you. He called for the cops." 

"For the police! Why?" 

"Because my line of talk was a trifle too 
rough, I suppose." 

"Did he know you were there to meet me?" 

"Can't say. The whole thing was over like 
a flash. I am quick on the trigger." 

81 



82 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"But if you had killed me what other goose 
would lay golden eggs?" 

"You forget that the goose was unwilling to 
lay any more eggs. I only meant scaring you. 
To haul you neck and crop into the river was 
a good scheme. You see, we haven't met for 
some years." 

"Then why why murder Eonald Tower?" 

"There you go again. Murder! How you 
chew on the \vord. I never touched the man, 
only to haul him into the boat and go through 
his pockets. I guess he had a weak heart, due 
to over-eating, and the cold water upset him." 

"But you left him in the river?" 

"Wrong every time. I chucked him into a 
barge and covered him tenderly with a tarpau- 
lin." 

Meiklejohn sprang upright. "Good God," 
he cried, "he may be alive!" 

"Sit down, William, sit down," was the cool 
response. "If he's alive, he'll turn up. In any 
case, he'll be found sooner or later. Shout the 
glad news now and you go straight to the 
Tombs." 

This was obviously so true that the Senator 
collapsed into his chair again, and in so doing 
disturbed the fire-irons a second time. 

The incident amused the unbidden guest. "I 
see you won't be happy till I leave you," he 
laughed, "so let's go on with the knitting. That 



STILL MERE MYSTERY 83 

girl she is becoming a woman what is to be 
done with her?" 

"Bachel takes every care " 

" Rachel is excellent in her way. But she is 
growing old. She may die. The girl is the 
living image of her mother. It's a queer world, 
and a small one at times. For instance, who 
would have expected your double to walk onto 
the terrace at the landing-stage at nine o'clock 
precisely last night! Well, some one may rec- 
ognize the likeness. Inquiries might be insti- 
tuted. That would be very awkward for 
you." 

"Far more awkward for you." 

"Not a bit of it. I've lived with my neck in 
the loop for eighteen years. I'm getting used 
to it. But you, William, with your Senatorship 
and high record in Wall Street really the 
downfall would be terrible!" 

"What can we do with her? Murder her, as 
you " 

"The devil take you and your parrotlike rep- 
etition of one word!" roared brother Ralph, 
bringing his clenched fist down on the table 
with a bang. "I never laid violent hands on a 
woman yet, whatever I may have done to men. 
Who has reaped the reward of my misdeeds, 
I'd like to know I, an outcast and a wanderer, 
or you, living here like Lord Tomnoddy? None 
of your preaching to me, you smug Pharisee! 



84 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

We're six of one and half a dozen of the 
other." 

When this self-proclaimed adventurer was 
really aroused he dropped the rough argot of 
the plains. His diction showed even some 
measure of culture. 

Meiklejohn walked unsteadily to the door. 
He opened it. There was no one in the passage 
without. 

"I'm sorry," he said in a strangely subdued 
voice. "What do you want? What do you sug- 
gest?" 

"This," came the instant reply. "It was a 
piece of folly on Rachel's part to educate the 
girl the way she did. You stopped the process 
too late. In a year or two Miss Winifred will 
begin to think and ask questions, if she hasn't 
done so already. She must leave the East 
better quit America altogether." 

"Very well. When this affair of Tower's 
blows over I'll arrange it." 

The other man seemed to be somewhat mol- 
lified. He lighted a cigarette. "That rope 
play was sure a mad trick," he conceded sul- 
lenly, "but I thought you were putting the cops 
on my trail." 

A bell rang and the Senator started. Many 
callers, mostly reporters, had been turned away 
by Phillips already that day, but brother 
Ralph's untimely visit had made the position 



STILL MERE MYSTERY 85 

peculiarly dangerous. Moreover, the valet's 
protests had proved unavailing this time. The 
two heard his approaching footsteps. 

Meiklejohn's care-worn face turned almost 
green with fright, and even his hardier com- 
panion yielded to a sense of peril. He leaped 
up, moving catlike on his toes. 

" Where does that door lead to!" he hissed, 
pointing. 

"A bedroom. But I've given orders " 

"You dough-faced dub, don't you see you 
create suspicion by refusing to meet people? 
And, listen! If this is a cop, bluff hard! I'll 
shoot up the whole Bureau before they get 
me!" 

He vanished, moving with a silence and celer- 
ity that were almost uncanny in so huge a 
man. Phillips knocked and thrust his head in. 
He looked scared yet profoundly relieved. 

"Mr. Tower to see you, sir," he said breath- 
lessly. 

"What?" shrieked the Senator in a shrill 
falsetto. 

"Yes, sir. It's Mr. Tower himself, sir." 

"H'lo, Bill!" came a familiar voice. "Here 
I am ! No spook yet, thank goodness ! ' ' 

Meiklejohn literally staggered to the door 
and nearly fell into Ronald Tower's arms. Of 
the two men, the Senator seemed nearer death 
at that moment. He blubbered something in- 



86 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

coherent, and had to be assisted to a chair. 
Even Tower was astonished at the evident 
depth of his friend's emotion. 

"Cheer up, old sport!" he cried affection- 
ately. "I had no notion you felt so badly about 
my untimety end, as the newspapers call it. I 
tried to get you on the phone, but you were 
closed down, the exchange said, so Helen 
packed me off here when she was able to sit 
up and take nourishment. Gad I Even my wife 
seems to have missed mel" 

Many minutes elapsed before Senator Meik- 
le John's benumbed brain could assimilate the 
facts of a truly extraordinary story. Tower, 
after being whisked so unceremoniously into 
the Hudson, remembered nothing further until 
he opened his eyes in numb semi-consciousness 
in the cubbyhole of a tug plodding through the 
long Atlantic rollers off the New Jersey coast. 

When able to talk he learned that the captain 
of the tug Cygnet, having received orders to 
tow three loaded barges from a Weehawken 
pier to Barnegat City, picked up his "job" at 
nine-thirty the previous night, and dropped 
down the river with the tide. In the early 
morning he was amazed by the sight of a man 
crawling from under the heavy tarpaulin that 
sheeted one of the barges a man so dazed and 
weak that he nearly fell into the sea. 

"Cap' Kickards slowed up and took me 



'STILL MERE MYSTERY 87 

aboard," explained Tower volubly. "Then he 
filled me with rock and rye and packed nie in 
blankets. Gee, how they smelt, but how grate- 
ful they were ! What between prime old whis- 
key inside and greasy wool outside I dodged 
a probable attack of pneumonia. When the 
Cygnet tied up at Barnegat at noon to-day I 
was fit as a fiddle. Cap' Rickards rigged me 
out in his shore-going suit and lent me twenty 
dollars, as that pair of blackguards in the 
launch had robbed me of every cent. They 
even took a crooked sixpence I found in Lon- 
don twenty years ago, darn 'em! I phoned 
Helen, of course, but didn't realize what a hub- 
bub my sad fate had created until I read a 
newspaper in the train. When I reached home 
poor Helen was so out of gear that she hadn't 
told a soul of my escape. I do believe she 
hardly accepted my own assurance that I was 
still on the map. However, when I got her 
calmed down a bit, she remembered you and 
the rest of the excitement, so I phoned the 
detective bureau and the club, and came 
straight here." 

"That is very good of you, Tower," mur- 
mured Meiklejohn brokenly. He looked in far 
worse plight than the man who had survived 
such a desperate adventure. 

"Well, my dear chap, I was naturally anx- 
ious to see you, because but perhaps you don't 



88 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

know that those scoundrels meant to attack you, 
not me?" 

Meiklejolm smiled wanly. * ' Oh, yes, ' ' he said. 
''The police found that out by some means. I 
believe the authorities actually suspected me of 
being concerned in the affair." 

Tower laughed boisterously. "That's the 
limit!" he roared. "Come with me to the club. 
We'll soon spoil that yarn. What a fuss the 
papers made ! I 'm quite a celebrity. ' ' 

"I'll follow you in half an hour. And, look 
here, Tower, this matter did really affect me. 
There was a woman in the case. I butted into 
an old feud merely as a friend. I think matters 
will now be settled amicably. Allow me to make 
good your loss in every way. If you can per- 
suade the police that the whole thing was a 
hoax " 

For the first time Tower looked non-plussed. 
He was enjoying the notoriety thrust on him 
so unexpectedly. 

1 ' Well, I can hardly do that, ' ' he said. "But 
if I can get them to drop further inquiries I'll 
do it, Meiklejohn, for your sake. Gee-! Come 
to look at you, you must have had a bad time. 
. . . Well, good-by, old top! See you later. 
Suppose we dine together? That will help dis- 
sipate this queer story as to you being mixed up 
in an attack on me. Now, I must be off and play 
ghost in the club smoking-room." 



STILL MERE MYSTERY 89 

Meiklejobn heard his fluttering man-servant 
let Tower out. He tottered to a chair, and Ralph 
Voles came in noiselessly. 

"Well, what about it?" chuckled the repro- 
bate. "We seem to have struck it lucky." 

"Go away!" snarled the Senator, goaded to 
a sudden rage by the other man 's cynical humor. 
"I can stand no more to-day." 

"Oh, take a pull at this !" And the decanter 
was pushed across the table. " Didn't Dr. John- 
son once say that claret is the liquor for boys, 
port for men, but he who aspires to be a hero 
should drink brandy? And you must be a hero 
to-night. Get onto the Bureau and use the soft 
pedal. Then beat it to the club. You and Tov.or 
ought to be well soused in an hour. He 's a good 
sport, all right. I'll mail him that sixpence if 
it 's still in my pants. ' ' 

"Do nothing of the sort!" snapped Meikle- 
john. "You're " 

"Ah, cut it out! Tower wants plenty to talk 
about. His crooked sixpence will fill many an 
eye, and the more he spiels tLe better it is for 
you. Gee, but you're yellow for a two-hundred 
pounder ! Now, listen ! Make those cops drop 
all charges against Rachel. Then, in a week or 
less, I'll come along and fix things about the 
girl. She's the fly in the amber now. Mind 
she doesn't get out, or the howl about Mr. Ron- 
ald Tower's trip to Barnegat won't amount to 



90 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

a row of beans against the trouble pretty Wini- 
fred can give you. Dios! It's a pity. She's a 
real beauty, and that's more than any one can 
say for you, Brother William." 

"You go to" 

" That's better! You're reviving. Well, 
good-by, Senator! Au revoir sans adieux!" 

The big man swaggered out. Meiklejohn 
drank no spirits. He needed a clear brain that 
evening. After deep self-communing he rang up 
police headquarters and inquired for Mr. 
Clancy. 

"Mr. Clancy is out," he was told by some 
one with a strong, resonant voice. "Anything 
we can do, Senator?" 

"About that poor woman, Eachel Craik " 

"Oh, she's all right ! She gave us a farewell 
smile two hours ago." 

"You mean she is at liberty?" 

"Certainly, Senator." 

"May I ask to whom I am speaking 1 ?" 

"Steingall, Chief of the Bureau." 

"This wretched affair it's merely a family 
squabble between Miss Craik and a relative 
might well end now, Mr. Steingall." 

"That is for Mr. Tower and Mr. Van Hofen 
to decide." 

"Yes, I quite understand. I have seen Mr. 
Tower, and he shares my opinion." 



STILL MERE MYSTERY 9i 

so, Senator. At any rate, the yacht 
mystery is almost cleared up." 
"I agree with you most heartily." 
For the first time in nearly twenty-four hours 
Senator Meiklejohn looked contented with life 
when he hung up the receiver. Therefore, it 
was well for his peace of mind that he could not 
hear Steingall's silent comment as he, in turn, 
disconnected the phone. 

' 'That old fox agreed with me too heartily," 
he thought. "The yacht mystery is only just 
beginning or I'm a Dutchman!" 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE DBEAM FACE 

THAT evening of her dismissal from Brown's, 
and her meeting with Rex Carshaw, Winifred 
opened the door of the dun house in One Hun- 
dred and Twelfth Street the most downhearted 
girl in New York. Suddenly, mystery had gath- 
ered round her. Something threatened, she 
knew not what. When the door slammed behind 
her her heart sank she was alone not only in 
the house, but in the world. This thought pos- 
sessed her utterly when the excitement caused 
by Carshaw and Fowle, and their speedy arrest, 
had passed. 

That her aunt, the humdrum Rachel Craik, 
should have any sort of connection with the mur- 
der of Ronald Tower, of which Winifred had 
chanced first to hear on Riverside Drive that 
morning, seemed the wildest nonsense. Then 
Winifred was overwhelmed afresh, and breathed 
to herself, "I must be dreaming!" 

And yet the house was empty! Her aunt 
was not there her aunt was held as a criminal ! 
It was not a dream, but only like one, a waking 
nightmare far more terrifying. Most of the 

92 



THE DREAM FACE 93 

rooms in the house had nothing but dust in them. 
Kachel Craik had preferred to live as solitary in 
teeming Manhattan as a castaway on a rock in 
the midst of the sea. 

Winifred's mind was accustomed now to the 
thought of that solitude shared by two. This 
night, when there were no longer two, but only 
one, the question arose strongly in her mind 
why had there never been more than two ? Cer- 
tainly her aunt was not rich, and might well 
have let some of the rooms. Yet, even the sug- 
gestion of such a thing had made Eachel Craik 
angry. This, for the first time, struck Winifred 
as odd. Everything was puzzling, and all sorts 
of doubts peeped up in her, like ghosts question- 
ing her with their eyes in the dark. 

When the storm of tears had spent its force 
she had just enough interest in her usual self 
to lay the table and make ready a meal, but not 
enough interest to eat it. She sat by a window 
of her bedroom, her hat still on her head, look- 
ing down. The street lamps were lit. It grew 
darker and darker. Down there below feet 
passed and repassed in multitudes, like drops of 
the eternal cataract of life. 

Winifred's eyes rested often on the spot 
where Rex Carshaw had spoken to her and had 
knocked down Fowle, her tormentor. In hours 
of trouble, when the mind is stunned, it will 
often go off into musings on trivial things. So 



94 

this young girl, sitting at the window of the 
dark and empty house, let her thoughts wander 
to her rescuer. He was well built, and poised 
like an athlete. He had a quick step, a quick 
way of talking, was used to command ; his brow 
was square, and could threaten; he had the 
deepest blue eyes, and glossy brown hair; he 
was a tower of strength to protect a girl; and 
his wife, if he had one, must have a feeling of 
safety. Thoughts, or half-thoughts, like these 
passed through her mind. She had never before 
met any young man of Carshaw's type. 

It became ten o 'clock. She was tired after the 
day's work and trouble of mind. The blow of 
her dismissal, the fright of her interview with 
the police, the arrest of her aunt all this sud- 
den influx of mystery and care formed a burden 
from which there was no escape for exhausted 
nature but in sleep. Her eyes grew weary at 
last, and, getting up, she discarded her hat and 
some of her clothes; then threw herself on 
the bed, still half-dressed, and was soon 
asleep. 

The hours of darkness rolled on. That tramp 
of feet in the street grew thin and scattered, as 
if the army of life had undergone a repulse. 
Then there was a rally, when the theaters and 
picture-houses poured out their crowds; but it 
was short, the powers of night were in the as- 
cendant, and soon the last stragglers retreated 



THE DREAM FACE 95 

under cover. Of all this Winifred heard noth- 
ing she slept soundly. 

But was it in a dream, that voice which she 
heard? Something somewhere seemed to whis- 
per, "She must be taken out of New York 
she is the image of her mother." 

It was a hushed, grim voice. 

The room, the whole house, had been in dark- 
ness when she had thrown herself on the bed. 
But, somewhere, had she not been conscious of 
a light at some moment? Had she dreamed this, 
or had she seen it? She sat up in bed, staring 
and startled. The room was in darkness. In 
her ears were the words: "She is the image of 
her mother." 

She had heard them in some world, she did 
not know in which. She listened with the keen 
ears of fear. Not a wagon nor a taxi any longer 
moved in the street; no step passed; the house 
was silent. 

But after a long ten minutes the darkness 
seemed to become pregnant with a sound, a 
steady murmur. It was as if it came from far 
away, as if a brook had spurted out of the 
granite of Manhattan, and was even more like 
a dream-sound than those words which still buz- 
zed in Winifred's ear. Somehow, that murmur 
as of water in the night made Winifred think 
of a face, one which, as far as she could remem- 
ber, she had never consciously seen a man's 



96 

face, brown, hard, and menacing, which had 
looked once into her eyes in some state of semi- 
conscious being, and then had vanished. And 
now this question arose in her mind : was it not 
that face, hard and brown, which she had never 
seen, and yet once had seen were not those the 
cruel lips which somewhere had whispered: 
"She is the image of her mother?" 

Winifred, sitting up in bed, listened to the 
steady, dull murmuring a long time, till there 
came a moment when she said definitely: "It 
is in the house." 

For, as her ears grew accustomed to its tone, 
it seemed to lose some of its remoteness, to be- 
come more local and earthly. Presently this 
sound which the darkness was giving out be- 
came the voices of people talking in subdued 
undertones not far off. Nor was it long before 
the murmur was broken by a word sharply ut- 
tered and clearly heard by her -a gruff and un- 
mistakable oath. She started with fright at 
this, it sounded so near. She was certain now 
that there were others in the house with her. 
She had gone to bed alone. Waking up in the 
dead of the small hours to find men or ghosts 
with her, her heart beat horribly. 

But ghosts do not swear at least such was 
Winifred's ideal of the spirit world. And she 
was brave. Nerving herself for the ordeal, she 
found the courage to steal out of bed and make 



THE DREAM FACE 97 

her way out of the room into a passage, and she 
had not stood there listening two minutes when 
she was able to be certain that the murmur was 
going on in a back room. 

How earnest that talk was how low in pitch ! 
It could hardly be burglars there, for burglars 
do not enter a house in order to lay their heads 
together in long conferences. It could not be 
ghosts, for a light came out under the rim of the 
door. 

After a time Winifred stole forward, tapped 
on a panel, and her heart jumped into her mouth 
as she lifted her voice, saying: 

" Aunty, is it you?" 

There was silence at this, as though they had 
been ghosts, indeed, and had taken to flight at 
the breath of the living. 

" Speak! Who is it?" cried Winifred with 
a fearful shrillness now. A chair grated on 
the floor inside, hurried steps were heard, a key 
turned, the door opened a very little, and Wini- 
fred saw the gaunt face of Rachel Craik look- 
ing dourly at her, for she had frightened this 
masterful woman very thoroughly. 

"Oh, aunt, it is you!" gasped Winifred with 
a flutter of relief. 

"You are to go to bed, Winnie," said Rachel. 

"It is you! They have let you out, then?" 

"Yes." 

"Tell me what happened; let me come in " 



98 

"Go back to bed; there's a good girl. I'll 
tell you everything in the morning." 

"Oh, but I am glad! I was so lonely and 
frightened! Aunt, what was it all about?" 

"About nothing; as far as I can discover," 
said Eachel Craik "a mere mare's-nest found 
by a set of stupid police. Some man a Mr. 
Ronald Tower was supposed to have been mur- 
dered, and I was supposed to have some con- 
nection with it, though I had never seen the 
creature in my life. Now the man has turned 
up safe and sound, and the pack of noodles have 
at last thought fit to allow a respectable woman 
to come home to her bed." 

"Oh, how good! Thank heaven! But, you 
have some one in there with you?" 

' l In here where ? ' ' 

"Why, in the room, aunt." 

"I? No, no one." 

"I am sure I heard 

"Now, really, you must go to bed, Winifred! 
What are you doing awake at this hour of the 
morning, roaming about the house? You were 
asleep half an hour ago 

"Oh, then, it was your light I saw in my sleep ! 
I thought I heard a man say: 'She is the 
image ' " 

"Just think of troubling me with your dreams 
at this unearthly hour! I'm tired, child; go to 
bed." 



THE DREAM FACE 99 

"Yes but, aunt, this day's work has cost me 
my situation. I am dismissed!" 

"Well, a holiday will do you good." 

"Good gracious you take it coolly!" 

"Go to bed." 

A sudden din of tumbling weights and splint- 
ering wood broke out behind the half-open door. 
For, within the room a man had been sitting on 
a chair tilted back on its two hind legs. The 
chair was old and slender, the man huge; and 
one of the chair-legs had collapsed under the 
weight and landed the man on the floor. 

"Oh, aunt! didn't you say that no one " 
began Winifred. 

The sentence was never finished. Rachel 
Craik, her features twisted in anger, pushed the 
young girl with a force which sent her stagger- 
ing, and then immediately shut the door. Wini- 
fred was left outside in the darkness. 

She returned to her bed, but not to sleep. It 
was certain that her aunt had lied to her there 
was more in the air than Winifred's quick wits 
could fathom. The fact of Rachel Craik 's re- 
lease did not clear up the mystery of the fact 
that she had been arrested. Winifred lay, spur- 
ring her fancy to account for all that puzzled 
her ; and underlying her thoughts was the man's 
face and those strange words which she had 
heard somewhere on the borders of sleep. 

She fancied she had seen the man somewhere 



100 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

before. At last she recalled the occasion, and 
almost laughed at the conceit. It was a picture 
of Sitting Bull, and that eminent warrior had 
long since gone to the happy hunting-grounds. 

Meantime, the murmur of voices in the back 
room had recommenced and was going on. 
Then, towards morning, Winifred became aware 
that the murmur had stopped, and soon after- 
ward she heard the click of the lock of the front 
door and a foot going down the front steps. 

Rising quickly, she crept to the window and 
looked out. Going from the door down the ut- 
terly empty street she saw a man, a big swag- 
gerer, with something of the over-seas and the 
adventurer in his air. It was Ralph "Voles," 
the "brother" of Senator William Meiklejohn. 
But Winifred could not distinguish his features, 
or she might have recognized the man she had 
seen in her half-dreams, and who had said : * * She 
must be taken out of New York she is the im- 
age of her mother." 

Voles had hardly quitted the place before a 
street-car conductor, who had taken temporary 
lodgings the previous evening in a house oppo- 
site, hurried out into the coldness of the hour 
before dawn. He seemed pleased at the neces- 
sity of going to work thus early. 

* ' Oh, boy ! " he said softly. "Fin glad there 's 
somethin' doin' at last. I was getting that 
sleepy. I could hardly keep me eyes open!" 



THE DREAM FACE 101 

When Detective Clancy came to the Bureau 
a few hours later he found a memorandum to 
the effect that a Mr. Ralph V. Voles, of Chicago, 
stopping at a high-grade hotel in Fifth Avenue, 
had dined with Rachel Craik in a quiet restaur- 
ant, had parted from her, and met her again, 
evidently by appointment. The two had entered 
the house in One Hundred and Twelfth Street 
separately shortly before midnight, and Voles 
returned to his hotel at four o'clock in the morn- 
ing. 

Clancy shook his head waggishly. 

" Who'd have thought it of you, Rachel?" he 
cackled. " And, now that I've seen you, what sort 
of weird specimen can Mr. Ralph V. Voles, of 
Chicago, be I I '11 look him up ! " 



CHAPTER IX 

THE FLIGHT 

CARSHAW and Fowle enjoyed, let us say, a 
short but almost triumphal march to the nearest 
police-station. Their escort of loafers and small 
boys grew quickly in numbers and enthusiasm. 
It became known that the arrest was made in 
East One Hundred and Twelfth Street, and that 
street had suddenly become famous. The lively^ 
inhabitants of the East Side do not bother their 
heads about grammatical niceties, so the gulf be- 
tween "the yacht murder" and "the yacht mur- 
derers" was easily bridged. The connection 
was clear. Two men in a boat, and two men in 
the grip of the law! It needed only Fowle 's 
ensanguined visage to complete the circle of 
reasoning. Consciousness of this ill-omened 
popularity infuriated Carshaw and alarmed 
Fowle. When they arrived at the precinct sta- 
tion-house each was inclined to wish he had 
never seen or heard of Winifred Bartlett ! 

Their treatment by the official in charge only 
added fuel to the flame. The patrolman ex- 
plained that "these two were fighting about the 

102 



THE FLIGHT 103 

girl who lives in that house in East One Hun- 
dred and Twelfth," and this vague statement 
seemed all-sufficient. The sergeant entered 
their names and addresses. He went to the 
telephone and came back. 

' ' Sit there ! " he said authoritatively, and they 
sat there, Carshaw trying to take an interest in 
a "drunk" who was brought in, and Fowle al- 
ternately feeling the sore lump at the back of his 
head and the sorer cartilage of his nose. After 
waiting half an hour Carshaw protested, but the 
sergeant assured him that "a man from the 
Bureau" was en route and would appear pres- 
ently. -At last Clancy came in. That, is why 
he was "out" when Senator Meiklejohn in- 
quired for him. 

"H'lo!" he cried when he set eyes on Fowle. 
"My foreman bookbinder! Your folio looks 
somewhat battered ! ' ' 

"Glad it's you, Mr. Clancy," snuffled Fowle. 
"You can tell these cops " 

"Suppose you tell me," broke in the detec- 
tive, with a glance at Carshaw. 

"Yes, Fowle, speak up," said Carshaw. 
"You've a ready tongue. Explain your fall 
from grace." 

"There's nothing to it," growled Fowle. 
"I know the girl, an' asked her to come with 
me this evening. She'd been fired by the firm, 



104 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Ah! Who fired her!" Clancy's inquiry 
sounded most matter-of-fact. 

"The boss, of course." 

"Why?" 

"Well this newspaper stuff. He didn't like 
it." 

"He told you so?" 

"Yes. That is the department is a bit 
crowded. He er asked me Well, we reck- 
oned we could do without her." 

"I see. Go on." 

"So I just came up-town, meanin' to talk 
things over, an' find her a new job, but she took 
it all wrong." 

Clancy whirled around on Carshaw. Ev- 
idently he had heard enough from Fowle. 

"And you?" he snapped. 

"I know nothing of either party," was the 
calm answer. ' ' I couldn 't help overhearing this 
fellow insulting a lady, so put him where he 
belongs in the gutter." 

"Mr. Clancy," interrupted the sergeant, 
"you're wanted on the phone." 

The detective was detained a good five min- 
utes. When he returned he walked straight up 
to Fowle. 

"Quit!" he said, with a scornful and side- 
long jerk of the head. "You got what you 
wanted. Get out, and leave Miss Bartlett alone 
in the future." 



THE FLIGHT 105 

Fowle needed no second bidding. 

"As for me?" inquired Carshaw, with arched 
eyebrows. 

"May I drop you in Madison Avenue?" said 
Clancy. Once the police car was speeding down- 
town he grew chatty. 

"Wish I had seen you trimming Fowle," he 
said pleasantly. "I've a notion he had a finger 
in the pie of Winifred Bartlett's dismissal." 

"It may be." 

Carshaw 's tone was indifferent. Just then 
he was aware only of a very definite resentment. 
His mother would be waiting for dinner, and 
alarmed, like all mothers who own motoring 
sons. The detective looked surprised, but made 
his point, for all that. 

"I suppose you'll be meeting that very charm- 
ing young lady again one of these days," he 
said. 

"I? Why? Most unlikely." 

"Not so. Do you floor every man you see 
annoying a woman in the streets?" 

"Well er " 

"Just so. Winifred interested you. She in- 
terests me. I mean to keep an eye on her, a 
friendly eye. If you and she come together 
again, let me know." 

"Really" 

"No wonder you are ready with a punch. 
You won't let a man speak. Listen, now. The 



106 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

patrolman held you and Fowle because he had 
orders to arrest, on any pretext or none, any 
one who seemed to have the remotest connec- 
tion with the house in One Hundred and 
Twelfth Street, where Winifred Bartlett lives 
with her aunt. You've read of the Yacht Mys- 
tery and the lassoing of Ronald Tower?" 

"Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Tower are my close 
friends." 

"Exactly. Now, Rachel Craik, Winifred's 
aunt, was released from custody an hour ago. 
She would have been charged with complicity 
in the supposed murder of Tower. I say 'sup- 
posed' because there was no murder. Mr. 
Tower has returned home, safe and sound " 

"By Jove, that's good news! But what a 
strange business it is! My mother was with 
Helen Tower this morning, trying to console 
her." 

"Good ! Now, perhaps, you'll sit up and take 
notice. The truth is that the mystery of this 
outrage on Tower is not cannot be of recent 
origin. I'm sure it is bound up with some long- 
forgotten occurrence, possibly a crime, in which 
the secret of the birth and parentage of Wini- 
fred Bartlett is involved. That girl is no more 
the niece of her 'aunt' than I am her nephew." 

"But one is usually the niece of one's aunt." 

"I think you need a cigarette," said Clancy 
dryly. "Organisms accustomed to poisonous 



THE FLIGHT 107 

stimulants often wilt when deprived too sud- 
denly of such harmful tonics. 7 ' 

Carshaw edged around slightly and looked at 
this quaint detective. 

"I apologize," he said contritely. "But the 
crowd got my goat when it jeered at me as a 
murderer. And the long wait was annoying, 
too." 

Clancy, however, was not accustomed to hav- 
ing his confidences slighted. He was ruffled. 

"Perhaps what I was going to say is hardly 
worth while," he snapped. "It was this. If, 
by chance, your acquaintance with Winifred 
Bartlett goes beyond to-day's meeting, and you 
learn anything of her life and history which 
sounds strange in your ears, you may be ren- 
dering her a far greater service than by flatten- 
ing Fowle's nose if you bring your knowledge 
straight to the Bureau." 

"I'll not forget, Mr. Clancy. But let me 
explain. It will be a miracle if I meet Miss 
Bartlett again." 

"It'll be a miracle if you don't," retorted 
the other. 

So there was a passing whiff of misunder- 
standing between these two, and, like every 
other trivial phase of a strange record, it was 
destined to bulk large in the imminent hazards 
threatening one lone girl. Thus, Clancy ceased 
being communicative. He might have referred 



guardedly to Senator Meiklejohn. But he did 
not. Oddly enough, his temperament was sin- 
gularly alike to Carshaw's, and that is why 
sparks flew. 

The heart, however, is deceitful, and Fate is 
stronger than an irritated young man whose 
conventional ideals have been besmirched by 
being marched through the streets in custody. 
The garage in which Carshaw's automobile was 
housed temporarily was located near One Hun- 
dred and Twelfth Street. He went there on the 
following afternoon to see the machine stripped 
and find out the exact extent of the damage. 
Yet he passed Winifred's house resolutely, 
without even looking at it. He returned that 
way at half past six, and there, on the corner, 
was posted Fowle Fowle, with a swollen nose ! 
There also was their special patrolman, with 
an eye for both ! 

The mere sight of Fowle prowling in unwhole- 
some quest stirred up wrath in Carshaw's 
mind; and the heart, always subtle and self- 
deceiving, whispered elatedly: "Here you have 
an excuse for renewing an acquaintance which 
you wished to make yourself believe you did not 
care to renew." 

He walked straight to the door of the brown- 
stone house and rang. Then he rapped. There 
was no answer. "When he had rapped a second 
time he walked away, but he had not gone far 



THE FLIGHT 109 

when he was almost startled to find himself 
face to face with Winifred coming home from 
making some purchases, with a bag on her arm. 

He lifted his hat. Winifred, with a vivid 
blush, hesitated and stopped. Prom the corner 
Fowle stared at the meeting, and made up his 
mind that it was really a rendezvous. The pa- 
trolman thought so, too, but he had new orders 
as to these two. 

''Pardon me, Miss Bartlett," said Carshaw. 
"Ah, you see I know your name better than 
you know mine. Mine is Carshaw Rex Car- 
shaw, if I may introduce myself. I have this 
moment tapped at your door, in the hope of 
seeing you." 

"Why so?" asked Winifred. 

"Do you wish to forget the incident of yes- 
terday evening?" 

"No; hence my stopping to hear what you 
have to say." 

"Well, then, I am here to see to the repairing 
of my car- not in the hope of seeing you, you 
know" Carshaw said this with a twinkle in his 
eye; "though, perhaps, if the truth were known, 
a little in that hope, too. Then, there at the 
corner, I find the very man who molested you 
last night looking at your house, and this 
spurred me to knock in order to ask a favor. 
Was I wrong?" 

"What favor, sir?" 



110 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"That, if ever you have the least cause to be 
displeased with the conduct of that man in the 
future, you will consider it as my business, and 
as an insult offered to me as it will be after 
the trouble of last night and that you will let 
me know of the matter by letter. Here is my 
address." 

Winifred hesitated, then took the proffered 
card. 

"But" she faltered. 

' 'No; promise me that. It really is my busi- 
ness now, you know." 

"I cannot write to you. I don't know 
you." 

"Then I shall only have to stand sentinel a 
certain number of hours every day before 
your house, to see that all goes well. You can't 
prevent me doing that, can you? The streets 
are free to everybody." 

"You are only making fun." 

"That I am not. See how stern and solemn 
I look. I shall stand sentinel and gaze up at 
your window on the chance of seeing your face. 
Will you show yourself sometimes to comfort 
me?" 

"No." 

"I'm sure you will." 

"I'd better promise to write the letter " 

"There now, that's a point for me!" 

"Oh, don't make me laugh." 



THE FLIGHT 111 

"Point number two for you have been cry- 
ing, Miss Winifred!" 
"I?" 

"Yes, I'm sorry to say. Oh, I only wish " 

"How do you know my name?" 

"What, the 'Winifred' and the 'Bartlett?' 
Winifred was always one of my favorite names 
for a girl, and you look the name all through. 
Well, Fowle and I were taken to the station- 
house last night, and in the course of the in- 
quiry I heard your name, of course." 

"Did they do anything to you for knocking 
down Mr. Fowle?" 

"No, no. Of course, they didn't do anything 
to me. In fact, they seemed rather pleased. 
Were you anxious, then, about me?" 

"I was naturally anxious, since it was I 
who " 

"Ah, now, don't spoil it by giving a reason. 
You were anxious, that is enough; let me be 
proud, as a recompense. And now I want to 
ask you two favors, one of them a great favor. 
The first is to tell me all you know about this 
Fowle. And the second why you look so sad 
and have been crying. May we walk on a little 
way together, and then you will tell me?" 

They walked on together, and for a longer 
time than either of them realized. Winifred 
was rather bewitched. Carshaw was something 
of a revelation to her in an elusive quality ol; 



112 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

mind or mariner which she in her heart could 
only call ''charming." 

She spoke of life at Brown, Son & Brown's, 
in Greenwich Village. She even revealed that 
she had been crying because of dark clouds 
which had gathered round her of a sudden, 
doubts and fears for which she had no name, 
and because of a sort of dream the previous 
night in which she had seen a man's Indian 
face, and heard a hushed, grim voice say : * * She 
must be taken out of New York she is the im- 
age of her mother." 

"Ah! And your mother who and where is 
she?" asked Carshaw. 

"I don't know. I can't tell. I never knew 
her," answered Winifred droopingly, with a 
shake of her head. 

"And as to your father?" 

"I have no father. I have only my aunt." 

"Winifred," said Carshaw solemnly, "will 
you consider me your friend from this 
night?" 

"You are kind. I trust you," she murmured. 

"A friend is a person who acts for another 
with the same zeal as for himself, and who has 
the privilege of doing whatever seems good to 
him for that other. Am I to regard myself as 
thus privileged!" 

Winifred, who had never flirted with any 
young man in her life, fancied she knew nothing 



TEE FLIGHT 113 

about the rules of the game. She was confused. 
She veiled her eyes. 

"I don't know perhaps we shall see," she 
stammered. Which was not so bad for a novice. 

They parted with a warm hand-shake. Ten 
minutes later Carshaw was in a telephone booth 
with Clancy's ear at the other end of the wire. 

"I have just had a chat with Miss Bartlett," 
he began. 

"Tut, tut! How passing strange!' 7 cackled 
the detective.. ' ' The merest chance in the world, 
I'm sure." 

"Yes. The miracle came off, so you're en- 
titled- to your gibe. But I have news for you. 
It's about a dream and a face." 

4 ' Gee ! Throw the picture on the screen, Mr. 
Carshaw. ' ' 

Then Carshaw spoke, and Clancy listened and 
bade him work more miracles, even though he 
might have to report such phenomena to the 
Psychical Research Society. Next morning 
Carshaw, a hard man when offended, visited 
Brown, Son & Brown, who had executed a large 
rebinding order for his father's library, and 
Fowle was speedily out of a job. The ex-fore- 
man knew the source of his misfortune, and 
vowed vengeance. 

In the evening, about half past six, Carshaw 
was back in One Hundred and Twelfth Street. 
There had been no promise of a meeting be- 



tween him and Winifred no promise, but, by 
those roundabout means by which people in 
sympathy understand each other, it was per- 
fectly well understood that they would happen 
to meet again that night. 

He waited in the street, but Winifred did not 
appear. The brown-stone house was in total 
darkness. An hour passed, and the waiting 
was weary, for it was drizzling. But Carshaw 
waited, being a persistent young man. At last, 
after seven, a pang of fear shot through his 
breast. He remembered the girl's curious ac- 
count of the dream-man. 

He determined to knock at the door, relying 
on his wits to invent some excuse if any 
stranger opened. But to his repeated loud 
knockings there came no answer. The house 
seemed abandoned. Winifred was gone ! Even 
a friendly patrolman took pity on his drawn 
face and drew near. 

"No use, sir!" he confided. ''They've 
skipped. But don't let on 7 told you. Call up 
the Detective Bureau!" 



CHAPTER X 

CABSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE . 

"Busy, Mr. Carshaw ?" inquired some one 
when an impatient young man got in touch with 
Mulberry Street after an exasperating delay. 

"Not too busy to try and defeat the scoun- 
drels who are plotting against a defenseless 
girl," he cried. 

"Well, come down-town. We'll expect you 
in half an hour." 

"But, Mr. Clancy asked me " 

"Better come," said the voice, and Carshaw, 
though fuming, bowed to authority. 

It is good for the idle rich that they should 
be brought occasionally into sharp contact with 
life's realities. During his twenty-seven years 
Eex Carshaw had hardly ever known what it 
meant to have a purpose balked. Luckily for 
him, he was of good stock and had been well 
reared. 

The instinct of sport, fostered by triumphs 
at Harvard, had developed an innate quality of 
self-reliance and given him a physical hardi- 
hood which revelled in conquest over difficulties. 
Each winter, instead of lounging in flannels at 

115 



116 THE, BARTLETT MYSTERY 

the Poinciana, lie was out with guides and 
dogs in the Northwest after moose and 
caribou. 

He preferred polo to tennis. He would rather 
pass a fortnight in oilskins with the rough and 
ready fisher-folk of the Maine coast than don 
the white ducks and smart caps of his wealthy 
yachting friends. In a word, society and riches 
had not spoiled him. But he did like to have 
his own way, and the suspicion that he might 
be thwarted in his desire to help Winifred Bart- 
lett cut him now like a sword. So he chafed 
against the seeming slowness of the Subway, 
and fuel was added to the fire when he was kept 
waiting five minutes on arriving at police head- 
quarters. 

He found Clancy closeted with a big man who 
had just lighted a fat cigar, and this fact in 
itself betokened official callousness as to Wini- 
fred's fate. Hot words leaped from his lips. 

"Why have you allowed Miss Bartlett to be 
spirited away? Is there no law in this State, 
nor any one who cares whether or not the law 
is obeyed? She's gone taken by force. I'm 
certain of it." 

"And we also are certain of it, Mr. Car- 
shaw," said Steingall placidly. "Sit down. 
Do you smoke? You'll find these cigars in good 
shape," and he pushed forward a box. 

' * But, is nothing being done I ' ' Nevertheless, 



CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CEASE 117 

Carshaw sat down and took a cigar. He had 
sufficient sense to see that bluster was useless 
and only meant loss of dignity. 

"Sure. That's why I asked you to come 
along." 

"You see," put in Clancy, "you short-cir- 
cuited the connections the night before last, so 
we let you cool your heels in the rain this even- 
ing. We want no 'first I will and then I won't' 
helpers in this business." 

Carshaw met those beady brown eyes stead- 
ily. "I deserved that," he said. "Now, per- 
haps, you'll forget a passing mood. I have 
come to like Winifred." 

Clancy stared suddenly at a clock. 

"Tick, tick!" he said. "Eight fifteen. Norn 
d'un pipe, now I understand." 

For the first time the true explanation of 
Senator Meiklejohn's covert glance at the clock 
the previous morning had occurred to him. 
That wily gentleman wanted Winifred out of 
the house for her day's work before the police 
interviewed Eachel Craik. He had fought hard 
to gain even a few hours in the effort to hinder 
inquiry. 

"What's bitten you, Frog?" inquired the 
chief. 

Probably who knows? but there was some 
reasonable likelihood that the Senator's name 
might have reached Carshaw 's ears had not the 



118 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

telephone bell jangled. Steingall picked up the 
receiver. 

"Long-distance call. This is it, I guess," 
and his free hand enjoined silence. The talk 
was brief and one-sided. Steingall smiled as 
he replaced the instrument. 

"Now, we're ready for you, Mr. Carshaw," 
he said, lolling back in his chair again. "The 
Misses Craik and Bartlett have arrived for the 
night at the Maples Inn, Fairfield, Connecticut. 
Thanks to you, we knew that some one was 
desperately anxious that Winifred should 
leave New York. Thanks to you, too, she has 
gone. Neither her aunt nor the other inter- 
ested people cared to have her strolling in Cen- 
tral Park with an eligible and fairly intelligent 
bachelor like Mr. Rex Carshaw." 

Carshaw's lips parted eagerly, but a gesture 
stayed him. 

"Yes. Of course, I know you're straining at 
the leash, but please don't go off on false 
trails. You never lose time casting about for 
the true line. This is, the actual position of 
affairs: A man known as Ralph V. Voles, 
assisted by an amiable person named Mick the 
Wolf he was so christened in Leadville, 
where they sum up a tough accurately hauled 
Mr. Ronald Tower into the river. For some 
reason best known to himself, Mr. Tower treats 
the matter rather as a joke, so the police can 



CARS HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 119 

carry it no further. But Voles is associated 
with Rachel Craik, and was in her house during 
several hours on the night of the river incident 
and the night following. It is almost safe to 
assume that he counseled the girl's removal 
from New York because she is 'the image of her 
mother.' One asks why this very natural fact 
should render Winifred Bartlett an undesirable 
resident of New York. There is a ready 
answer. She might be recognized. Such recog- 
nition would be awkward for somebody. But 
the girl has lived in almost total seclusion. 
She is nineteen. If she is so like her mother as 
to be recognized, her mother must have been a 
person of no small consequence, a lady known 
to and admired by a very large circle of 
friends. The daughter of any other woman, 
presumably long since dead, who was not of 
social importance, could hardly be recognized. 
You follow this ?" 

"Perfectly." Carshaw was beginning to 
remodel his opinion of the Bureau generally, 
and of its easy-going, genial-looking chief in 
particular. 

"This fear of recognition, with its certain 
consequc-nces," went on Steingall, pausing to 
flick the ash off his cigar, "is the dominant fac- 
tor in Winifred's career as directed by Rachel 
Craik. This woman, swayed by some lingering 
shreds of decent thought, had the child well 



120 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

educated, but the instant she approaches matur- 
ity, Winifred is set to earn a living in a book- 
binding factory. Why? Social New York does 
not visit wholesale trade houses, nor travel on 
the elevated during rush hours. But it does go' 
to the big stores and fashionable milliners 
where a pretty, well proportioned girl can ob- 
tain employment readily. Moreover, Rachel 
Craik would never 'hear of the stage, though 
Winifred can sing, and believes she could dance. 
And how prompt recognition might be in a 
theater. It all comes to this, Mr. Carshaw: 
the Bureau's hands are tied, but it can and will 
assist an outsider, whom it trusts, who means 
rescuing Miss Bartlett from the exile which 
threatens her. We have looked you over care- 
fully, and think you are trustworthy 

"The Lord help you if you're not !" broke in 
Clancy. "I like the girl. It will be a bad day 
for the man who works her evil." 

Carshaw's eyes clashed with Clancy's, as 
rapiers rasp in thrust and parry. From that 
instant the two men became firm friends, for 
the young millionaire said quietly: 

"I have her promise to call for help on me, 
first, Mr. Clancy." 

"You'll follow her to Fairfield then?" and 
Steingall sat up suddenly. 

"Yes. Please advise me." 

"That's the way to talk. I wish there was a 



CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 121 

heap more boys like you among the Four Hun- 
dred. But I can't advise you. I'm an official. 
Suppose, however, I were a young gentleman 
of leisure who wanted to befriend a deserving 
young lady in Winifred Bartlett's very pecu- 
liar circumstances. I'd persuade her to leave 
a highly undesirable 'aunt,' and strike out for 
herself. I'd ask my mother, or some other lady 
of good standing, to take the girl under her 
wing, and see that she was cared for until a 
place was found in some business or profession 
suited to her talents. And that's as far as I 
care to go at this sitting. As for the ways and 
means, in these days of fast cars and daredevil 
drivers who are in daily danger of losing their 
licenses " 

"By gad, I'll do it," and Carshaw's emphatic 
fist thumped the table. 

"Steady! This Voles is a tremendous fel- 
low. In a personal encounter you would stand 
no chance. And he's the sort that shoots at 
sight. Mick the Wolf, too, is a bad man from 
the wild and woolly West. The type exists, even 
to-day. We have gunmen here in New York 
who'd clean up a whole saloonful of modern 
cowboys. Voles and Mick are in Fairfield, but 
I've a notion they'll not stay in the same hotel 
as Winifred and her aunt. I think, too, that 
they may lie low for a day or two. You'll ob- 
serve, of course, that Rachel Craik, so poverty- 



122 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

stricken that Winifred had to earn eight dollars 
a week to eke out the housekeeping, can now 
afford to travel and live in expensive hotels. 
All this means that Winifred ought to be urged 
to break loose and come back to New York. 
The police will protect her if she gives them the 
opportunity, but the law won't let us butt in 
between relatives, even supposed ones, without 
sufficient justification. One last word you 
must forget everything I've said." 

"And another last word," cried Clancy. 
* ' The Bureau is a regular old woman for tittle- 
tattle. We listen to all sorts of gossip. Some 
of it is real news." 

"And, by jing, I was nearly omitting one bit 
of scandal," said Steingall. "It seems that 
Mick the Wolf and a fellow named Fowle met 
in a corner saloon round about One Hundred 
and Twelfth Street the night before last. They 
soon grew thick as thieves, and Fowle, it ap- 
pears, watched a certain young couple stroll 
off into the gloaming last night." 

"Next time I happen on Fowle!" growled 
Carshaw. 

"You'll leave him alone. Brains are better 
than brawn. Ask Clancy." 

"Sure thing!" chuckled the little man. 
"Look at us two!" 

"Anyhow, I'd hate to have the combination 
working against me," and with this deft re- 



CAR8HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 123 

joinder Carshaw hurried away to a garage 
where he was known. At dawn he was hooting 
an open passage along the Boston Post Road 
in a car which temporarily replaced his own 
damaged cruiser. 

Within three hours he was seated in the din- 
ing-room of the Maples Inn and reading a news- 
paper. It was the off season, and the hotel con- 
tained hardly any guests, but he had ascertained 
that Winifred and her aunt were certainly 
there. For a long time, however, none but a 
couple of German waiters broke his vigil, for 
this thing happened before the war. One stout 
fellow went away. The other, a mere boy, re- 
mained and flecked dust with a napkin, wonder- 
ing, no doubt, why the motorist sat hours at the 
table. At last, near noon, Rachel Craik, with a 
plaid shawl draped around her angular shoul- 
ders, and Winifred, in a new dress of French 
gray, came in. 

Winifred started and cast down her eyes on 
seeing who was there. Carshaw, on his part, 
apparently had no eyes for her, but kept a look 
over the top of his newspaper at Rachel Craik, 
to see whether she recognized him, supposing it 
to be a fact that he had been seen with Wini- 
fred. She seemed, however, hardly to be aware 
of his presence. 

The girl and the woman sat some distance 
from him the room was large near a win- 



dow, looking out, and anon exchanging a remark 
in quiet voices. Then a lunch was brought into 
them, Carshaw meantime buried in the news- 
paper except when he stole a glance at 
Winifred. 

His hope was that the woman would leave the 
girl alone, if only for one minute, for he had a 
note ready to slip into "Winifred's hand, 
beseeching her to meet him that evening at 
seven in the lane behind the church for some 
talk "on a matter of high importance." 

But fortune was against him. Rachel Craik, 
after her meal, sat again at the window, took 
up some knitting, and plied needles like a slow 
machine. The afternoon wore on. Finally, 
Carshaw rang to order his own late lunch, and 
the German boy brought it in. He rose to go 
to table; but, as if the mere act of rising 
spurred him to further action, he walked 
straight to "Winifred. The hours left him were 
few, and his impatience had grown to the point 
of desperateness now. He bowed and held out 
the paper, saying: 

"Perhaps you have not seen this morning's 
newspaper?" At the same time he presented 
her the note. 

Miss Craik was sitting two yards away, half- 
turned from Winifred, but at this afternoon 
offer of the morning's paper she glanced round 
fully at Winifred, and saw, that as Winifred 



CARSHAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 125 

took the newspaper, she tried to grasp with it 
a note also which lay on it tried, but failed, 
fo-r the note escaped, slipped down on Wini- 
fred's lap, and lay there exposed. 

Miss Craik's eyebrows lifted a little, but she 
did not cease her knitting. Winifred's face was 
painfully red, and in another moment pale. 
Carshaw was not often at his wits' end, but now 
for some seconds he stood embarrassed. 

Rachel Craik, however, saved him by saying 
quickly: "The gentleman has dropped some- 
thing in your lap, Winifred." Whereupon 
Winifred handed back the unfortunate note. 

What was he to do now? If he wrote to Wini- 
fred through the ordinary channels of the hotel 
she might, indeed, soon receive the letter, but 
the risks of this course were many and obvious. 
He ate, puzzling his brains, spurring all his 
power of invention. The time for action was 
growing short. 

Suddenly he noticed the German boy, and 
had a thought. He could speak German well, 
and, guessing that Rachel Craik probably did 
not understand a word of it, he said in a natural 
voice to the boy in German: 

"Fond of American dollars, boy!" 

"Ja, mein Herr," answered the boy. 

"I'm going to give you five." 

"You are very good, mein Herr/' said the 
boy, "beautiful thanks!" 



126 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"But you have to earn them. Will you do 
just what I tell you, without asking for any 
reason?" 

"If I can, mein Herr." 

"Nothing very difficult. You have only to go 
over yonder by that chair where I was sitting, 
throw yourself suddenly on the floor, and begin 
to kick and wriggle as though you had a fit. 
Keep it up for two minutes, and I will give you 
not five but ten. Will you do this?" 

"From the heart willingly, mein Herr," 
answered the boy, who had a solemn face and 
a complete lack of humor. 

"Wait, then, three minutes, and then sud- 
denly do it." 

The three minutes passed in silence ; no sound 
in the room, save the clicking of Carshaw 's 
knife and fork, and the ply of Rachel Craik's 
knitting-needles. Then the boy lounged away 
to the farther end of the room; and suddenly, 
with a bump, he was on the floor and in the 
promised fit. 

"Halloo!" cried Carshaw, while from both 
Winifred and Rachel came little cries of alarm 
for a fit has the same effect as a mouse on 
the nerves of women. 

"He's in a fit!" screamed the aunt. 

"Please do something for him!" cried Wini- 
fred to Carshaw, with a face of distress. But 
he would not stir from his seat. The boy still 



CARS HAW TAKES UP THE CHASE 127 

kicked and writhed, lying on his face and utter- 
ing blood-curdling sounds. This was easy. He 
had only to make bitter plaint in the German 
tongue. 

"Oh, aunt," said Winifred, half risen, yet 
hesitating for fear, "do help that poor fellow!" 

Whereupon Miss Craik leaped up, caught the 
water-jug from the table with a rather wither- 
ing look at Carshaw, and hurried toward the 
boy. Winifred went after her and Carshaw 
went after Winifred. 

The older woman turned the boy over, bent 
down, dipped her fingers in the water, and 
sprinkled his forehead. Winifred stood a little 
behind her, bending also. Near her, too, Car- 
shaw bent over the now quiet form of the boy. 

A piece of paper touched Winifred's palm 
the note again. This time her fingers closed on 
it and quickly stole into her pocket. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE TWO CAKS 

"!T is highly improper on my part to come 
here and meet you," said Winifred. "What 
can it be that you have to say to me of such 
'high importance'!" 

The two were in the lane behind the church, 
at seven that same evening. Winifred, on some 
pretext, has escaped the watchful eyes of Rachel 
Craik, or fancied that she had, and came hur- 
riedly to the waiting Carshaw. She was all 
aflutter with expectancy not untinged by fear, 
she knew not of what. The nights were begin- 
ning to darken early, and it was gloomy that 
evening, for the sky was covered with clouds 
and a little drizzle was falling. 

"You are not to think that there is the least 
hint of impropriety about the matter," Carshaw 
assured her. "Understand, please, Winifred, 
that this is no lovers' meeting, but a business 
one, on which your whole future life depends. 
You cannot suppose that I have followed you to 
Fairfield for nothing." 

"How could you possibly know that I 
here f ' ' 

128 



THE TWO CARS 129 

"From the police." 

"The police again? What a strange thing!" 

"Yes, a strange thing, and yet not so strange. 

They are keenly interested in you and your 

movements, for your good. And I, of course, 

still more so." 

"You are wonderfully good to care. But, tell 
me quickly, I cannot stay ten minutes. I think 
my aunt suspects something. She already 
knows about the note dropped to-day into my 
lap." 

1 'And about the boy in the fit. Does she sus- 
pect that, too?" 

' * What, was that a ruse ? Good gracious, how 
artful you must be! I'm afraid of you " 
" Endlessly artful for your sake, Winifred." 
"You are kind. But tell me quickly." 
"Winifred, you are in danger, from which 
there is only one way of escape for you 
namely, absolute trust in me. Pray understand 
that the dream in which you heard some one 
say, 'She must be taken away from New York' 
was no dream. You are here in order to be 
taken. This may be the first stage of a long 
journey. Understand also that there is no bond 
of duty which forces you to go against your will, 
for the shrewdest men in the New York police 
have reason to think you are not who you 
imagine you are, and that the woman you call 
your aunt is no relative of yours," 



130 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"What reason have they?" asked Winifred. 

"I don't care I don't know, they have not 
told me. But I believe them, and I want you 
to believe me. The persons who have charge of 
your destiny are not normal persons more or 
less they have done, or are connected with 
wrong. There is no doubt about that. The 
police know it, though they cannot yet drag 
that wrong into the light. Do you credit what 
I say?" 

"It is all very strange." 

"It is true. That is the point. Have you, 
by the way, ever seen a man called Voles 1 ' ' 

"Voles? No." 

"Yet that man at this moment is somewhere 
near you. He came in the same train with you 
from New York. He is always near you. He 
is the most intimate associate of your aunt. 
Think now, and tell me whether it is not a dis- 
turbing thing that you never saw this man 
face to face?" 

"Most disturbing, if what you say is so." 

"But suppose I tell you what I firmly believe 
that you have seen him; that it was his face 
which bent over you in your half-sleep the 
other night, and his voice which you heard?" 

"I always thought that it was no dream," 
said Winifred. "It was not a nice face." 

"And remember, Winifred," urged Carshaw 



THE TWO CARS 131 

earnestly, "that to-day and to-morrow are your 
last chances. You are about to be taken far 
away possibly to France or England, as surely 
as you see those clouds. True, if you go, I shall 
go after you." 

"You?" 

"Yes, I. But, if you go, I cannot be certain 
how far I may be able to defend and rescue you 
there, as I can in America. I know nothing 
of foreign laws, and those who have you in their 
power do. On that field they may easily beat 
me. So now is your chance, Winifred." 

"But what am I to do?" she asked in a 
scared tone, frightened at last by the sincerity 
blazing from his eyes. 

"Necessity has no rules of propriety," he 
answered. "I have a car here. You should 
come with me this very night to New York. 
Once back there, it is only what my interest in 
you gives me the right to expect that you will 
consent to use my purse for a short while, till 
you find suitable employment. ' ' 

Winifred covered her face and began to cry. 
"Oh, I couldn't!" she sobbed. 

"Don't cry," said Carshaw tenderly. "You 
must, you know, since it is the only way. You 
cry because you do not trust me." 

" Oh ! I do. But what a thing it is that you 
propose ! To break with all my past on a sud- 



132 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

den. I hardly even know you ; last week I had 
not seen you " 

" There, that is mistrust. I know you as well 
as if I had always known you. In fact, I always 
did, in a sense. Please don't cry. Say that you 
will come with me to-night. It will be the best 
piece of work that you ever did for yourself, 
and you will always thank me for having per- 
suaded you." 

"But not to-night! I must have time to 
reflect, at least." 

"Then, when?" 

"Perhaps to-morrow night. I don't know. 
I must think it over first in all its bearings. To- 
morrow morning I will leave a letter in the 
office, telling you ' 

"Well, if you insist on the delay. But it is 
dangerous, Winifred it is horribly danger- 
ous!" 

"I can't help that. How could a girl run 
away in that fashion?" 

"Well, then, to-morrow night at eleven, pre- 
cisely. I shall be at the end of this lane in my 
car, if your letter in the morning says 'Yes.' 
Is that understood?" 

"Yes." 

"Let me warn you against bringing anything 
with you any clothes or a grip. Just steal out 
of the inn as you are. And I shall be just there 
at the corner at eleven. ' ' 



THE TWO CARS 133 

"Yes." 

"I may not have the chance of speaking to 
you again before " 

But Carshaw's pleading stopped short; from 
the near end of the lane a tall form entered it 
Rachel Craik. She had followed Winifred from 
the hotel, suspecting that all was not well had 
followed her, lost her, and now had ref ound her. 
She walked sedately, with an inscrutable face, 
toward the spot where the two were talking. 
The moment Carshaw saw this woman of ill 
omen he understood that all was lost, unless he 
acted with bewildering promptness, and quickly 
he whispereed in Winifred's ear: 

''It must be to-night or never! Decide now. 
'Yes' or 'No.' " 

"Yes," said Winifred, in a voice so low that 
he could hardly hear. 

"At eleven to-night?" 

"Yes," she murmured. 

Rachel Craik was now up to them. She was 
in a vile temper, but contrived to curb it. 

"What is the meaning of this, Winifred? 
And who is this gentlemen?" she said. 

Winifred, from the habit of a lifetime, stood 
in no small awe of that austere woman. All the 
blood fled from the girl's face. She could only 
say brokenly: 

"I am coming, aunt," and went following 
with a dejected air a yard behind her captor. 



134 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

In this order they walked till they arrived at the 
door of the Maples Inn, neither having uttered 
a single word to the other. There Miss Craik 
halted abruptly. "Go to your room," she mut- 
tered. "I'm ashamed of you. Sneaking out at 
night to meet a strange man ! No kitchen-wench 
could have behaved worse." 

Winifred had no answer to that taunt. She 
could not explain her motives. Indeed, she 
would have failed lamentably had she attempted 
it. All she knew was that life had suddenly 
turned topsy-turvy. She distrusted her aunt, 
the woman to whom she seemed to owe duty and 
respect, and was inclined to trust a young man 
whom she had met three times in all. But she 
was gentle and soft-hearted. Perhaps, if this 
Mr. Rex Carshaw, with his earnest eyes and 
wheedling voice, could have a talk with 
"aunty," his queer suspicions so oddly borne 
out by events might be dissipated. 

"I'm sorry if I seem to have done wrong," 
she said, laying a timid hand on Rachel Craik 's 
arm. "If you would only tell me a little, dear. 
Why have we left New York? Why" 

"Do you want to see me in jail?" came the 
harsh whisper?" 

"No. Oh, no. But" 

"Obey me, then! Remain in your room till 
I send for you. I'm in danger, and you, you 



THE TWO CARS 135 

foolish girl, are actually in league with my 
enemies. Go!" 

Winifred sped through the porch, and hied 
her to a window in her room on the first floor 
which commanded a view of the main street. 
She could see neither Carshaw nor Aunt Rachel, 
the one having determined to lie low for a few 
hours, and the other being hidden from sight 
already as she hastened through the rain to the 
small inn where Voles and Mick the Wolf were 
located. 

These worthies were out. The proprietor 
said they had hired a car and gone to Bridge- 
port. "Miss Craik could only wait, and she sat 
in the lobby, prim and quiet, the picture of res- 
ignation, not betraying by a look or gesture the 
passions of anger, apprehension, and impa- 
tience which raged in her breast. 

Voles did not come. An hour passed; eight 
struck, then nine. Once the word ' l carousing" ! 
passed Miss Rachel's lips with an intense bitter- 
ness; but, on the whole, she sat with a stiff 
back, patient as stone. 

Then after ten there came the hum and whir 
of an automobile driven at high speed through 
the rain-sodden main street. It stopped outside 
the inn. A minute later the gallant body of 
Voles entered, cigar in his mouth, and a look 
of much champagne in his eyes. 



136 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

''What, Rachel, girl, you here!" he said in 
his offhand way. 

1 'Are you sober?" asked Rachel, rising 
quickly. 

''Sober? Never been really soused in my 
life! What 'sup?" 

He dropped a huge paw roughly on her 
shoulder, and her hard eyes softened as she 
looked at his face and splendid frame, for 
Ralph "Voles" was Rachel Craik's one weak- 
ness. 

"What's the trouble?" he went on, seeing 
that her lips were twitching. 

"You should have been here," she snapped. 
"Everything may be lost. A man is down here 
after Winifred, and I've caught her talking to 
him in secret." 

"A cop?" and Voles glanced around the 
otherwise deserted lobby. 

"I don't know most probably. Or he may 
be that same man who was walking with her on 
Wednesday night in Central Park. Anyway, 
this afternoon he tried to hand her a note in 
offering her a newspaper. The note fell, and I 
saw it. Afterward he managed to get it to her 
in some way, though I never for a moment let 
her out of my sight ; and they met about seven 
o'clock behind the church." 

' ' The little cat ! She beat you to it, Rachel ! ' ' 

"There is no time for talk, Ralph. That man. 



THE TWO CARS 137 

will take her from us, and then woe to you, to 
William, to us all. Things come out; they do, 
they do the deepest secrets! Man, man oh, 
rouse yourself, sober yourself, and act! We 
must be far from this place before morn- 
ing." 

"No more trains from here " 

"You could hire a car for your own amuse- 
ment. Rush her off in that. Snatch her away 
to Boston. We may catch a liner to-morrow." 

"But we can't have her seeing us!" 

"We can't help that. It is dark; she won't 
see your face. Let us be gone. We must have 
been watched, or how could that man have found 
us out? Ralph! Don't you understand? You 
must do something." 

"Where's this spy you gab of? I'll " 

"This is not the Mexican border. You can't 
shoot here. The man is not the point, but the 
girl. She must be gotten away at once." 

"Nothing easier. Off, now to the hotel, and 
be ready in half an hour. I'll bring the car 
around." 

Rachel Craik wanted no further discussion. 
She reached the Maples Inn in a flurry of little 
runs. Before the door she saw two glaring 
lights, the lamps of Carshaw's automobile. It 
was not far from eleven. Even as she 
approached the hotel, Carshaw got in and drove 
down the street. He drew up on a patch of 



138 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

grass by the roadside at the end of the lane 
behind the church. Soon after this he heard a 
clock strike eleven. 

His eyes peered down the darkness of the 
lane to see Winifred coming, as she had prom- 
ised. It was still drizzling slightly the night 
was heavy, stagnant and silent. Winifred did 
not come, and Carshaw's brows puckered with 
care and foreboding. A quarter of an hour 
passed, but no light tread gladdened his ear. 
Fairfield lay fast asleep. 

Carshaw could no longer sit still. He paced 
restlessly about the wet grass to ease his 
anxious heart. And so another quarter of an 
hour wore slowly. Then the sound of a fast- 
moving car broke the silence. Down the road a 
pair of dragon-eyes blazed. The car came like 
the chariots of Sennacherib, in reckless flight. 
Soon it was upon him. He drew back out of the 
road toward his own racer. 

Though rather surprised at this urgent flight 
he had no suspicion that Winifred might be the 
cause of it. As the car dashed past he clearly 
saw on the front seat two men, and in the ton- 
neau he made out the forms of two women. The 
faces of any of the quartet were wholly merged 
in speed and the night, but some white object 
fluttered in the swirl of air and fell forlornly 
in the road, dropping swiftly in its final plunge, 
like a stricken bird. He darted forward and 



THE TWO CARS 139 

picked up a lady's handkerchief. Then he 
knew! Winifred was being reft from him 
again. He leaped to his own car, started the 
engine, turned with reckless haste, and in a few 
seconds was hot in chase. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE PURSUIT 

THE two automobiles rushed along the Boston 
Post Road, heading for Bridgeport. The loud 
rivalry of their straining engines awoke many 
a wayside dweller, and brought down maledic- 
tions on the heads of all midnight joy-riders. 

Carshaw knew the road well, and his car was 
slightly superior to the other in speed. His 
hastily evolved plan was to hold the kidnappers 
untilthey were in the main street of Bridgeport. 
There he could dash ahead, block further pro- 
gress, risking a partial collision if necessary, 
and refer the instant quarrel to the police, bid- 
ding them verify his version of the dispute by 
telephoning New York. 

He could only hope that Winifred would bear 
him out as against her "aunt," and he felt sure 
that Voles and his fellow-adventurer dare not 
risk close investigation by the law. At any 
rate, his main object at present was to overtake 
the car in front, which had gained a flying start, 
and thus spoil any maneuvering for escape, 
such as turning into a side road. In his enthu- 
siasm he pressed on too rapidly. 

140 



THE PURSUIT 141 

He was seen, and his intent guessed. The 
leading car slowed a trifle in rounding a bend ; 
as Carshaw careened into view a revolver-shot 
rang out, and a bullet drilled a neat hole in the 
wind-screen, making a noise like the sharp crack 
of a whip. Simultaneously came a scream! 

That must be Winifred's cry of terror in his 
behalf. The sound nerved him anew. He saw 
red. A second shot, followed by a wilder shriek, 
spat lead somewhere in the bonnet. Carshaw 
set his teeth, gave the engine every ounce of 
power, and the two chariots of steel went 
raging, reckless of consequences, along the 
road. " 

There must be a special Providence that looks 
after chauffeurs, as well as after children and 
drunkards, for at some places the road, though 
wide enough, was so dismal with shadow that 
if any danger lurked within the darkness it 
would not have been seen in time to be avoided. 

11 Drunkenness" is, indeed, the word to 
describe the state of mind of the two drivers 
by this time a heat to be on, a wrath against 
obstacles, a storm in the blood, and a light in 
the eyes. Voles would have whirled through a 
battalion of soldiers on the march, if he had 
met them, and would have hissed curses at them 
as he pitched over their bodies. He knew how 
to handle an automobile, having driven one 
over the rough tracks of the Rockies, so this 



142 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

well-kept road offered no difficulties. For five 
minutes the cars raged ahead, passed through a 
sleeping village street and down a hill into open 
country beyond. 

No sound was made by their occupants, whose 
minds and purposes remained dark one to the 
other. Voles might have fancied himself chased 
by the flight of witches who harried Tarn o* 
Shanter, while Carshaw might have been hunt- 
ing a cargo of ghosts ; only the running hum of 
the cars droned its music along the highway, 
with a staccato accompaniment of revolver- 
shots and Winifred's appeals to heaven for aid. 
Meantime, the rear car still gained on the one in 
front. And, on a sudden, Carshaw was aware 
of a shouting, though he could not make out the 
words. It was Mick the Wolf, who had clam- 
bered into the tonneau and was bellowing : 

"Pull up, you Pull up, or I'll get you 
sure!" 

Nor was the threat a waste of words, for he 
had hardly shouted when again a bullet flicked 
past Carshaw 's head. 

Just then a bend of the road and a patch 
of woodland hid the two cars from each other ; 
but they had hardly come out upon a reach of 
straight road again when another shot was 
fired. Carshaw, however, was now crouched 
low over the steering wheel, and using the hood 
of the car as a breast-work; though, since he 



THE PURSUIT 143 

was obliged to look out, his head was still more 
or less exposed. 

He bated no whit of speed on this account, but 
raced on; still, that firing in the dark had an 
effect upon his nerves, making him feel rather 
queer and small, for every now and again at 
intervals of a few seconds, it was sure to come, 
the desperado taking slow, cool aim with the 
perseverance of a man plying his day's work, 
of a man repeating to himself the motto: 

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try 
again." 

Those shots, moreover, were coming from a 
hand whose aim seldom failed a dead shot, 
baffled only by the unconquerable vibration. 
And yet Carshaw was untouched. He could 
not even think. He was conscious only of the 
thrum of the car, the spurts of flame, the whistle 
of lead, the hysterical frenzy of Winifred's 
plaints. 

The darkness alone saved him, but the more 
he caught up with the fugitive the less was this 
advantage likely to stand him in good stead. 
And when he should actually catch them up 
what then? This question presented itself now 
to his heated mind. He had no plan of action. 
None was possible. Even in Bridgeport what 
could he do? There were two against one 
he would simply be shot as he passed the 
other car. 



144 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

It was only the heat of the hunt that had 
created in him the feeling that he must over- 
take them, though he died for it; but when he 
was within thirty yards of the front car, and 
two shots had come dangerously near in swift 
succession, a flash of reason warned him, and 
he determined to slacken speed a little. He was 
not given time to do this. There was an out- 
cry on the car in front from three throats in it. 

A mob of oxen, being driven to some market, 
blocked the road just beyond a bend. The men 
in charge had heard the thunder of the oncom- 
ing racers, with its ominous obbligato of 
screams and shooting. They had striven des- 
perately to whack the animals to the hedge on 
either side, and were bawling loud warnings 
to those thrice accursed gunmen whom they 
imagined chased by police. Their efforts, their 
yells, were useless. Sixty miles an hour de- 
mands at least sixty yards for safety. When 
Voles put hand and foot to the brakes he had 
hardly a clear space of ten. An obstreperous 
bullock was the immediate cause of disaster. 
Facing the dragon eyes, it charged valiantly! 

Mick the Wolf, running short of cartridges, 
was about to ask Voles to slow down until he 
"got" the reckless pursuer, when he found him- 
self describing a parabola backward through 
the air. He landed in the roadway, breaking 
his left arm. 



THE PURSUIT 145 

Voles had an extraordinary lurid oath 
squeezed out of his vast bulk as he was forced 
onto the steering-wheel, the pillar snapping like 
a carrot. Winifred and Rachel Craik were flung 
against the padded back of the driving seat, but 
saved from real injury because of their crouch- 
ing to avoid Mick the Wolf. 

Voles was as quick as a wildcat in an emer- 
gency like this. He was on his feet in a second, 
with a leg over the door, meaning to shoot Car- 
shaw ere the latter could do anything to pro- 
tect himself. But luck, dead against honesty 
thus far, suddenly veered against crime. Car- 
shaw's car smashed into the rear of the heavy 
mass composed of crushed bullock and automo- 
bile no longer mobile, and dislocated its own 
engine and feed pipes. The jerk threw Voles 
heavily, and nearly, not quite, sprained his 
ankle. So, during a precious second or two, he 
lay almost stunned on the left side of the road. 

Carshaw, given a hint of disaster by the 
slightest fraction of time, and already braced 
low in the body of his car, was able to jump 
unobserved from the wreck. As though his 
brain were illumined by a flash of lightning, he 
remembered that the signal handkerchief had 
fluttered from the off side of the flying car, so 
he ran to the right, and grabbed a breathless 
Bundle of soft femininity Out of the ruin. 

" Winifred," he gasped. 



146 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"Oh, are you safe?" came the strangled sob. 
So that was her first thought, his safety! It 
is a thrilling moment in a man's life when he 
learns that his well-being provides an all-suffic- 
ing content for some dear woman. Come weal, 
come woe, Carshaw knew then that he was 
clasping his future wife in his arms. He ran 
with her through a mob of frightened cattle, 
and discovered a gate leading into a field. 

"Can you stand if I lift you over?" he said, 
leaning against the bars. 

"Of course! I can run, too," and, in maid- 
enly effort to free herself, she hugged him 
closer. They crossed the gate and together 
breasted a slight rise through scattered sheaves 
of corn-shucks. Meanwhile, Voles and the 
cattlemen were engaged in a cursing match 
until Rachel Craik, recovering her wind, 
screamed an eldrich command: 

"Stop, you fool! They're getting away. He 
has taken her down the road!" 

Voles limped off in pursuit, and Mick the 
Wolf took up the fierce argument with the driv- 
ers. At that instant the wreck blazed into 
flame. Eachel had to move quickly to avoid a 
holocaust in which a hapless bullock provided 
the burnt offering. The light of this pyre 
revealed the distant figures of Winifred and 
Carshaw, whereupon the maddened Voles tried 
pot shots at a hundred yards. Bullets came 



THE PURSUIT 147 

close, too. One cut the heel of Carshaw's shoe; 
another plowed a ridge through his motoring 
cap. Realizing that Voles would aim only at 
him, he told Winifred to run wide. 

She caught his hand. 

1 ' Please help!" she breathed. "I cannot 
run far. ' ' 

He smothered a laugh of sheer joy. Wini- 
fred's legs were supple as his. She was prob- 
ably the fleeter of the two. It was the mother- 
instinct that spoke in her. This was her man, 
and she must protect him, cover him from ene- 
mies with her own slim body. 

Soon they were safe from even a chance shot. 
On climbing a rail fence, Carshaw led the girl 
clearly into view until a fold in the ground 
offered. Then they doubled and zigzagged? 
They saw some houses, but Carshaw wanted 
no explanation or parleying then and pressed 
on. They entered a lane, or driveway, and fol- 
lowed it. There came a murmuring of mighty 
waters, the voice of the sea ; they were on the 
beach of Long Island Sound. Far behind, in 
the gloom, shone a lurid redness, marking the 
spot where the two cars and the bullock were 
being converted into ardent gasses. 

Carshaw halted and surveyed a long, low line 
of blackness breaking into the deep-blue plain 
of the sea to the right. 

M I know where we are," he said. "There 'a 



148 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

a hotel on that point. It's about two miles. 
You could walk twenty, couldn't you?" 

"Oh, yes," said Winifred unthinkingly. 

"Or run five at a jog-trot?" he teased her. 

"Well er " 

She blushed furiously, and thanked the night 
that hid her from his eyes. No maid wishes a 
man to think she is in love with him before he 
has uttered the word of love. When next she 
spoke, Winifred's tone was reserved, almost 
distant. 

"Now tell me what has caused this tornado," 
she said. "I have been acting on impulse. 
Please give me some reasonable theory of to- 
night's madness." 

It was on the tip of Carshaw's tongue to 
assure her that they were going to New York 
by the first train, and would hie themselves 
straight to the City Hall for a marriage license. 
But he had a mother, a prized and deeply rev- 
erenced mother. Ought he to break in on her 
placid and well-balanced existence with the curt 
announcement that he was married, even to a 
wife like Winifred. Would he be playing the 
game with those good fellows in the detective 
bureau? Was it fair even to Winifred that she 
should be asked to pay the immediate price, as 
it were, of her rescue? So the fateful words 
were not uttered, and the two trudged on, talk- 
ing with much common sense, probing the 



TEE PURSUIT 149 

doubtful things in Winifred's past life, and 
ever avoiding the tumult of passion which must 
have followed their first kiss. 

In due course an innkeeper was aroused and 
the mishap of a car explained. The man took 
them for husband and wife; happily, Winifred 
did not overhear Carsbaw's smothered: 

"Not yet!" 

The girl soon went to her room. They parted 
with a formal hand-shake ; but, to still the ready 
lips of scandal, Carshaw discovered the land- 
lord's favorite brand of wine and sat up all 
night in his company. 



CHAPTER XIH 



THE NEW 

STEINGALL and Clancy were highly amused by 
Carshaw's account of the "second burning of 
Fairfield," as the little man described the strug- 
gle between Winifred's abductors and her res- 
cuer. The latter, not so well versed in his 
country's history as every young American 
ought to be, had to consult a history of the Rev- 
olution to learn that Fairfield was burned by 
the British in 1777. The later burning, by the 
way, created a pretty quarrel between two in- 
surance companies, the proprietors of two gar- 
ages and the owner of a certain bullock, with 
Carshaw's lawyer and a Bridgeport lawyer, 
instructed by "Mr. Ralph Voles," as inter- 
veners. 

"And where is the young lady now?" in- 
quired Steingall, when Carshaw's story reached 
its end. 

"Living in rooms in a house in East Twenty- 
Seventh Street, a quiet place kept by a Miss 
Goodman." 

"Ah! Too soon for any planning as to the 
future, I suppose?" 

100 



THE NEW LINK 151 

"We talked of that in the train. Winifred 
has a voice, so the stage offers an immediate 
opening. But I don't like the notion of musical 
comedy, and the concert platform demands a 
good deal of training, since a girl starts there 
practically as a principal. There is no urgency. 
Winifred might well enjoy a fortnight's rest. 
I have counseled that." 

"A stage wait, in fact," put in Clancy, sar- 
castically. 

By this time Carshaw was beginning to 
understand the peculiar quality of the small 
detective's wit. 

"Yes," he said, smiling into those piercing 
and brilliant eyes. "There are periods in a 
man's life when he ought to submit his desires 
to the acid test. Such a time has come now for 
me." 

"But 'Aunt Rachel' may find her. Is she 
strong-willed enough to resist cajoling, and 
seek the aid of the law if force is threatened!" 

"Yes, I am sure now. What she heard and 
saw of those two men during the mad run along 
the Post Road supplied good and convincing 
reasons why she should refuse to return to Miss 
Craik." 

' ' Why are you unwilling to charge them with 
attempted murder?" said Steingall, for Car- 
shaw had stipulated there should be no legal 
proceedings. 



152 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 
"My lawyers advise against it," he said sim- 

piy- 

"You've consulted them?" 

"Yes, called in on my way here. When I 
reached home after seeing Winifred fixed com- 
fortably in Miss Goodman's, I opened a letter 
from my lawyers, requesting an interview on 
another matter, of course. Meaning to marry 
Winifred, if she '11 take me, I thought it wise to 
tell them something about recent events." 

Steingall carefully chose a cigar from a box 
of fifty, all exactly alike, nipped the end off, 
and lighted it. Clancy's fingers drummed im- 
patiently on the table at which the three were 
seated. Evidently he expected the chief to 
play Sir Oracle. But the head of the Bureau 
contented himself with the comment that he was 
still interested in Winifred Bartlett's history, 
and would be glad to have any definite particu- 
lars which Carshaw might gather. 

Clancy sighed so heavily on hearing this 
"departmental" utterance that Carshaw was 
surprised. 

"If I could please myself, I'd rush Winifred 
to the City Hall for a marriage license to-day," 
he said, believing he had fathomed the other's 
thought. 

"I'm a bit of a Celt on the French and Irish 
sides," snapped Clancy, "and that means an 
ineradicable vein of romance in my make-up. 



TEE NEW LINK 153 

But I'm a New York policeman, too a guy 
who has to mind his own business far more 
frequently than the public suspects." 

And there the subject dropped. Truth to tell, 
the department had to tread warily in stalking 
such big game as a Senator. Carshaw was a 
friend of the Towers, and "the yacht mystery" 
had been deliberately squelched by the highly 
influential persons most concerned. It was im- 
politic, it might be disastrous, if Senator Meik- 
lejohn's name were dragged into connection 
with that of the unsavory Voles on the flimsy 
evidence, or, rather, mere doubt, affecting 
Winifred Bartlett's early life. 

Winifred herself lived in a passive but bliss- 
ful state of dreams during the three weeks. 
Perhaps, in her heart of hearts, she wondered 
if every young man who might be in love with a 
girl imposed such rigid restraint on himself as 
Rex Carshaw when he was in her company. 
The unspoken language of love was plain in 
every glance, in every tone, in the merest touch 
of their hands. But he spoke no definite word, 
and their lips had never met. 

Miss Goodman, who took an interest in the 
pretty and amiable girl, spent many an hour of 
chat with her. Every morning there arrived a 
present of flowers from Carshaw; every after- 
noon Carshaw himself appeared as regularly 
as the clock and drank of Miss Goodman's tea. 



154 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

They were weeks of Nirvana for Winifred, and, 
but for her fear of being found out and her con- 
tinued lack of occupation, they were the happi- 
est she had ever known. Meantime, however, 
she was living on "borrowed" money, and felt 
herself in a false position. 

"Well, any news?" was always Carshaw's 
first question as he placed his hat over his stick 
on a chair. And Winifred might reply : 

"Not much. I saw such-and-such a stage 
manager, and went from such an agent to 
another, and had my voice tried, with the usual 
promises. I'm afraid that even your patience 
will soon be worn out. I am sorry now that I 
thought of singing instead of something else, 
for there are plenty of girls who can sing much 
better than I." 

"But don't be so eager about the matter, 
Winifred," he would say. "It is an anxious little 
heart that eats itself out and will not learn, 
repose. Isn't it? And it chafes at "being 
dependent on some one who is growing weary 
of the duty. Doesn't it!" 

"No, I didn't mean that," said Winifred 
with a rueful and tender smile. "You are infin- 
itely good, Rex." They had soon come to the 
use of Christian names. Outwardly they were 
just good friends, while inwardly they resem- 
bled two active volcanoes. 

"Now I am 'infinitely good,' which is really 



THE NEW LINK 155 

more than human if you think it out," he 
laughed. "See how you run to extremes with 
nerves and things. No, you are not to care at 
all, Winnie. You have a more or less good 
voice. You know more music than is good for 
you, and sooner or later, since you insist on it, 
you will get what you want. Where is the 
hurry?" 

"You don't or won't understand," said 
Winifred. "I know what I want, and must get 
some work without delay." 

"Well, then, since it upsets you, you shall. 
I am not much of an authority about profes- 
sional matters myself, but I know a lady who 
understands these things, and I'll speak to 
her." 

"Who is this lady?" asked Winifred. 

"Mrs. Ronald Tower." 

* ' Young nice-looking ? ' ' asked Winifred, 
looking down at the crochet work in her lap. 
She was so taken up with the purely feminine 
aspect of affairs that she gave slight heed to a 
remarkable coincidence. 

"Er so-so," said Carshaw with a smile 
borne of memories, which Winifred's downcast 
eyes just noticed under their raised lids. 

"What is she like?" she went on. 

"Let me see! How shall I describe her? 
Well, you know Gainsborough's picture of the 
Duchess of Devonshire? She's like that, full- 



156 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

busted, with preposterous hats, dashing rather 
a beauty!" 

"Indeed!" said Winifred coldly. "She must 
be awfully attractive. A very old friend?" 

' * Oh, rather ! I knew her when I was eigh- 
teen, and she was elancee then." 

"What does elancee mean?" 

"On the loose." 

"What does that mean?" 

"Well a bit free and easy, doesn't it? 
Something of that sort. Smart set, you know." 

"I see. Do you, then, belong to the smart 
set?" 

"I? No. I dislike it rather. But one rubs 
with all sorts in the grinding of the mill." 

"And this Mrs. Ronald Tower, whom you 
knew at eighteen, how old was she then?" 

"About twenty- two or so." 

"And she was gay then?" 

"As far as ever society would let her." 

' * How did you know ? ' ' 

"I well, weren't we almost boy and girl to- 
gether?" 

"I wonder you can give yourself the pains 
to come to spend your precious minutes with 
me when that sort of woman is within 

"What, not jealous?" he cried joyously. 
"And of that passee creature? Why, she isn't 
worthy to stoop and tie the latchets of your 
shoes, as the Scripture saith!" 



THE NEW LINK 157 

"Still, I'd rather not be indebted to that lady; 
for anything," said Winifred. 

''But why not? Don't be excessive, little one. 
There is no reason, you know." 

''How does she come to know about singing 
and theatrical people?" 

"I don't know that she does. I only assume 
it. A woman of the world, cutting a great dash, 
yet hard up that kind knows all sorts and con- 
ditions of men. I am sure she could help you, 
and I'll have a try." 

"But is she the wife of the Ronald Tower 
who was dragged by the lasso into the river?" 

"The same." 

"It is odd how that name keeps on occurring 
in my life," said Winifred musingly. "A 
month ago I first heard it on Riverside Drive, 
and since then I hear it always. I prefer, Rex, 
that you do not say anything to that woman 
about me." 

' ' I shall ! ' ' said Rex playfully. ' ' You mustn 't 
start at shadows." 

Winifred was silent. After a time she 
asked : 

"Have you seen Mr. Steingall or Mr. Clancy 
lately?" 

"Yes, a couple of days ago. We are always 
more or less in communication. But I have 
nothing to report. They're keeping track of 
Voles and Mick the Wolf, but those are birds 



158 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

who don't like salt on their tails. You know 
already that the Bureau never ceases to work 
at the mystery of your relation with your im- 
possible 'aunt,' and I think they have informa- 
tion which they have not passed on to me." 

"Is my aunty still searching for me, I won- 
der?" asked Winifred. 

"Oh, don't call her aunty call her your 
antipodes ! It is more than that woman knows 
how to be your aunt. Of course, the whole 
crew of them are moving heaven and earth to 
find you! Clancy knows it. But let them try 
they won't succeed. And even if they do, 
please don't forget that I'm here now!" 

"But why should they be so terribly anxious 
to find me I My aunty always treated me fairly 
well, but in a cold sort of a way which did not 
betray much love. So love can't be their mo- 
tive." 

"Love!" And Carshaw breathed the word 
softly, as though it were pleasing to his ear. 
"No. They have some deep reason, but what 
that is is more than any one guesses. The same 
reason made them wish to take you far from 
New York, though what it all means is not very 
clear. Time, perhaps, will show." 

The same night Rex Carshaw sat among a 
set which he had not frequented much of late 
in Mrs. Tower's drawing-room. There were 
several tables surrounded with people of vari- 



THE NEW LINK 159 

ous American and foreign types playing bridge. 
The whole atmosphere was that of Mammon; 
one might have fancied oneself in the halls of 
a Florentine money-changer. At the same table 
with Carshaw were Mrs. Tower, another society 
dame, and Senator Meiklejohn, who ought to 
have been making laws at Washington. 

Tower stood looking on, the most unimpor- 
tant person present, and anon ran to do some 
bidding of his wife's. Carshaw's only relation 
with Helen Tower of late had been to allow 
himself to be cheated by her at bridge, for she 
did not often pay, especially if she lost to one 
who had been something more than a friend. 
When he did present himself at her house, she 
felt a certain gladness apart from the money 
which he would lose; women ever keep some 
fragment of the heart which the world is not 
permitted to scar and harden wholly. 

She grew pensive, therefore, when he told her 
that he wished to place a girl on the concert 
stage, and wished to know from her how best 
to succeed. She thought dreamily of other 
days, and the slightest pin-prick of jealousy 
touched her, for Carshaw had suddenly become 
earnest in broaching this matter, and the other 
pair of players wondered why the game was in- 
terrupted for so trivial a cause. 

"What is the girl's name!" she asked. 

"Her name is of no importance, but, if you 



160 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

must know, it is Winifred Bartlett," he an- 
swered. 

Senator Meiklejohn laid his thirteen cards 
face upward on the table. There had been no 
bidding, and his partner screamed in protest: 

"Senator, what are you doing?" 

He had revealed three aces and a long suit 
of spades. 

"We must have a fresh deal," smirked Mrs. 
Tower. 

"Well, of all the wretched luck!" sighed the 
other woman. Meiklejohn pleaded a sudden in- 
disposition, yet lingered while a servant sum- 
moned Ronald Tower to play in his stead. 

Carshaw knew Winifred that same Wini- 
fred whom he and his secret intimates had 
sought so vainly during three long weeks! 
Voles and his arm-fractured henchman were 
recuperating in Boston, but Rachel Craik and 
Fowle were hunting New York high and low 
for sight of the girl. 

Fowle, though skilled in his trade, found well- 
paid loafing more to his choice, for Voles had 
sent Rachel to Fowle, guessing this man to be 
of the right kidney for underhanded dealings. 
Moreover, he knew Winifred, and would rec- 
ognize her anywhere. Fowle, therefore, sud- 
denly blossomed into a "private detective," 
and had reported steady failure day after day. 
Bachel Craik had never ascertained Carshaw 's 



THE NEW LINK 161 

name, as it was not necessary that he should 
register in the Fairfield Inn, and Fowle, with a 
nose still rather tender to the touch, never 
spoke to her of the man who had smashed it. 

So these associates in evil remained at cross- 
purposes until Senator Meiklejohn, when the 
bridge game was renewed and no further in- 
formation was likely to ooze out, went away 
from Mrs. Tower's house to nurse his sickness. 
He recovered speedily. A note was sent to 
Eachel by special messenger, and she, in turn, 
sought Fowle, whose mean face showed a blot- 
chy red when he learned that Winifred could 
be traced by watching Carshaw. 

1 1 I'll get her now, ma'am," he chuckled. 
"It'll be dead easy. I can make up as a parson. 
Did that once before when well, just to fool 
a bunch of people. No one suspects a parson 
see? I'll get her sure!" 



CHAPTER XIV 

A SUBTLE ATTACK 

VOLES was brought from Boston. Though 
Meiklejohn dreaded the man, conditions might 
arise which would call for a bold and ruthless 
rascality not quite practicable for a Senator. 

The lapse of time, too, had lulled the politi- 
cian's suspicions of the police. They seemed 
to have ceased prying. He ascertained, almost 
by chance, that Clancy was hot on the trail 
of a gang of counterfeiters. "The yacht my- 
stery ' ' had apparently become a mere memory 
in the Bureau. 

So Voles came, with him Mick the Wolf, 
carrying a left arm in splints, and the Senator 
thought he was taking no risk in calling at the 
up-town hotel where the pair occupied rooms 
the day after Carshaw blurted out Winifred's 
name to Helen Tower. He meant paying an- 
other visit that day, so was attired de rigueur, 
a fact at which Voles, pipe in mouth and loung- 
ing in pajamas, promptly scoffed. 

"Gee!" he cried. "Here's the Senator 
mooching round again, dressed up to the nines 
dust coat, morning suit, boots shining, all the 

162 



2 SUBTLE ATTACK 163 

frills but visiting low companions all the 
same. Why doesn't the man turn over a new 
leaf and become good?" 

"Oh, hold your tongue!" said "William. 
"We've got the girl, Ralph!" 

"Got the girl, have we! Not the first girl 
you've said that about is it, my wily Wil- 
liam?" 

"Listen, and drop that tone when you're 
speaking to me, or I'll cut you out for good 
and all!" said Meiklejohn in deadly earnest. 
"If ever you had need to be serious, it is now. 
I said we've got her, but that only means that 
we are about to get her address ; and the trouble 
will be to get herself afterward." 

"Tosh! As to that, only tell me where she 
is, an' I'll go and grab her by the neck." 

"Don't be such a fool. This is New York 
and not Mexico, though you insist on confound- 
ing the two. Even if the girl were without 
friends, you can't go and seize people in that 
fashion over here, and she has at least one 
powerful friend, for the man who beat you 
hollow that night, and carried her off under 
your very nose, is Rex Carshaw, a determined 
youngster, and rich, though not so rich as he 
thinks he is. And there must be no failure a 
second time, Ralph. Remember that! Just 
listen to me carefully. This girl is thinking of 
going on the stage! Do you realize what that 



164 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

means, if she ever gets there? You have your- 
self said she is the living' image of her mother. 
You know that her mother was well known in 
society. Think, then, of her appearing before 
the public, and of the certainty of her being 
recognized by some one, or by many, if she 
does. Fall down this time, and the game's up !" 

"The thing seems to be, then, to let daylight 
into Carshaw," said Voles. 

"Oh, listen, man! Listen! What we have to 
do is to place her in a lonely house in the 
country where, if she screams, her screams 
will not be heard; and the only possibility of 
bringing her there is by ruse, not by violence." 

"Well, and how get her there?" 

"That has to be carefully planned, and even 
more carefully executed. It seems to me that 
the mere fact of her wishing to go on the stage 
may be made a handle to serve our ends. If 
we can find a dramatic agent with whom she 
is in treaty, we must obtain a sheet of his office 
paper, and write her a letter in his name, mak- 
ing an appointment with her at an empty house 
in the country, some little distance from New 
York. None of the steps presents any great 
difficulty. In fact, all that part I undertake 
myself. It will be for you, your friend Mick, 
and Rachel Craik to receive her and keep her 
eternally when you once have her. You may 
then be able so to work upon her as to persuade 



'A SUBTLE 'ATTACK 165 

her to go quietly with you to South America or 
England. In any case, we shall have shut her 
away from the world, which is our object." 

"Poor stuff! How about this Carshaw? 
Suppose he goes with her to keep the appoint- 
ment, or learns from her beforehand of it? 
Carshaw must be wiped out." 

"He must certainly be dealt with, yes," said 
Meiklejohn, "but in another manner. I think 
I think I see my way. Leave him to me. I 
want this girl out of New York State in the 
first instance. Suppose you go to the Oranges, 
in New Jersey, pick out a suitable house, and 
rent iff Go to-day." 

Voles raised his shaggy eyebrows. 

"What's the rush?" he said amusedly. 
"After eighteen years " 

"Will you never learn reason? Every hour, 
every minute, may bring disaster." 

"Oh, have it your way! I'll fix Carshaw if he 
camps on my trail a second time." 

Meiklejohn returned to his car with a care- 
searned brow. He was bound now for Mrs. 
Carshaw 's apartment. 

If he was fortunate enough to find her in, 
and alone, he would take that first step in ' ' deal- 
ing with" her son which he had spoken of to 
Voles. He made no prior appointment by 
phone. He meant catching her unawares, so 
that Rex could have no notion of his presence. 



166 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Mrs. Carshaw was a substantial lady of fifty, 
a society woman of the type to whom the 
changing seasons supply the whole duty of man 
and woman, and the world outside the orbit 
of the Four Hundred is a rumor of no import/ 
ance. 

She had met Senator Meiklejohn in so many 
places for so many years that they might be 
called comrades in the task of dining and mak- 
ing New York look elegant. She was pleased to 
see him. Their common fund of scandal and 
epigram would carry them safely over a cheer- 
ful hour. 

"And as to the good old firm of Carshaw 
prosperous as usual, I hope*" said Meiklejohn, 
balancing an egg-shell tea-cup. 

Mrs. Carshaw shrugged. 

"I don't know much about it," she said, ''but 
I sometimes hear talk of bad times and lack of 
capital. I suppose it is all right. Rex does not 
seem concerned." 

1 'Ah! but the mischief may be just there," 
said Meiklejohn ' ' The rogue may be throwing 
it all on the shoulders of his managers, and let- 
ting things slide." 

"He may he probably is. I see very little 
of him, really, especially just lately." 

"Is it the same little influence at work upon 
him as some months ago!" asked Meiklejohn, 
bending nearer, a real confidential crony. 



'A SUBTLE ATTACK 167 

" Which same little influence?" asked the 
lady, agog with a sense of secrecy, and genu- 
inely anxious as to anything affecting her 
son. 

''Why, the girl, Winifred Bartlett." 

"Bartlett! As far as know, I have never 
even heard her name." 

"Extraordinary! Why, it's the talk of the 
club." 

"Tell me. What is it all about!" 

"Ah, I must not be indiscreet. When I men- 
tioned her, I took it for granted that you knew 
all about it, or I should not have told tales out 
of school. ' ' 

"Yes, but you and I are of a different gener- 
ation than Bex. He belongs to the spring, we 
belong to the autumn. There is no question of 
telling tales out of school as between you and 
him. So now, please, you are going to tell me 
all." 

' * Well, the usual story : A girl of lower social 
class; a young man's head turned by her wiles; 
the conventions more or less defied; business 
yawned at ; mother, friends, everything shelved 
for the time being, and nothing important but 
the one thing. It's not serious, perhaps. So 
long as business is not too much neglected, and 
no financial consequences follow, society thinks 
not a whit worse of a young man on that account 
on one condition, mark you ! There must bo 



168 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

no question of marriage. But in this case there 
is that question." 

"But this is merely ridiculous!" laughed 
Mrs. Carshaw shrilly. "Marriage! Can a son 
of mine be so quixotic?" 

"It is commonly believed that he is about to 
marry her. ' ' 

"But how on earth has it happened that I 
never heard a whisper of this preposterous 
thing?" 

"It is extraordinary. Sometimes the one 
interested is the last to hear what every one is 
talking about." 

"Well, I never was so amused!" Yet Mrs. 
Carshaw's wintry smile was not joyous. "Rex! 
I must laugh him out of it, if I meet him any- 
where ! ' ' 

* * That you will not succeed in doing, I think. ' ' 

"Well, then I'll frown him out of it. This is 
why I see all now. ' ' 

f ' There you are hardly wise, to think of either 
laughing or frowning him out of it," said 
Meiklejohn, offering her wordly wisdom. "No, 
in such cases there is a better way, take my 
word for it." 

"And that is?" 

"Approach the girl. Avoid carefully saying 
one word to the young man, but approach the 
girl. That does it, if the girl is at all decent, 
and has any sensibility. Lay the facts plainly 



A SUBTLE ATTACK 169 

before her. Take her into your confidence 
this flatters her. Invoke her love for the young 
man whom she is hurting by her intimacy with 
him this puts her on her honor. Urge her to 
fly from him this makes her feel herself a 
martyr, and turns her on the heroic tack. That 
is certainly what I should do if I were you, and 
I should do it without delay." 

" You 're right. I'll do it," said Mrs. Car- 
shaw. "Do you happen to know where this 
girl is to be found ? ' ' 

"No. I think I can tell, though, from whom 
you might get the address Helen Tower. I 
heard" your son talking to her last night about 
the girl. He was wanting to know whether 
Helen could put him in the way of placing her 
on the stage." 

"What ! Is she one of those scheming chorus- 
girls?" 

"It appears so." 

"But has he had the effrontery to mention 
her in this way to other ladies? It is rather 
amusing! Why, it used to be said that Helen 
Tower was his belle amie." 

"All the more reason, perhaps, why she may 
be willing to give you the address, if she knows 
it." 

"I'll see her this very afternoon." 

' ' Then I must leave you at leisure now, ' ' said 
Meiklejohn sympathetically. 



170 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

An hour later Mrs. Carshaw was with Helen 
Tower, and the name of Winifred Bartlett arose 
between them. 

"But he did not give me her address," 
said Mrs. Tower. "Do you want it pres- 
singly?" 

"Why, yes. Have you not heard that there 
is a question of marriage?" 

' ' Good gracious ! Marriage ? ' ' 

The two women laid their heads nearer 
together, enjoying the awfulness of the thing, 
though one was a mother and the other was 
pricked with jealousy in some secret part of her 
nature. 

"Yes marriage!" repeated the mother. 
Such an enormity was dreadful. 

"It sounds too far-fetched! What will you 
do?" 

"Senator Meiklejohn recommends me to 
approach the girl. ' ' 

"Well, perhaps that is the best. But how to 
get her address? Perhaps if I asked Eex he 
would tell it, without suspecting anything. On 
the other hand, he might take alarm." 

"Couldn't you say you had secured her a 
place on the stage, and make him send her to 
you, to test her voice, or something? And then 
you could send her on to me," said the elder 
woman. 

"Yes, that might be done," answered Helen 



A. SUBTLE ATTACK 171 

Tower. "I'd like to see her, too. She must be 
extraordinarily pretty to capture Rex. Some 
of those common girls are, you know. It is a 
caprice of Providence. Anyway, I shall find 
her out, or have her here somehow within the 
next few days, and will let you know. First of 
all, I'll write Rex and ask him to come for 
bridge to-night." 

She did this, but without effect, for GarshaW 
was engaged elsewhere, having taken Winifred 
to a theater. 

However, Meiklejohn was again at the bridge 
party, and when he asked whether Mrs. Car- 
shaw had paid a visit that afternoon, and the 
address of the girl had been given, Helen Tow- 
er answered: 

"I don't know it. I am now trying to find 
out." 

The Senator seemed to take thought. 

"I hate interfering," he said at last, "but I 
like young Carshaw, and have known his mother 
many a year. It's a pity he should throw him- 
self away on some chit of a girl, merely because 
she has a fetching pair of eyes or a slim ankle, 
or Heaven alone knows what else it is that first 
turns a young man's mind to a young woman. 
I happen to have heard, however, that Winifred 
Bartlett lives in a boarding-house kept by Miss 
Goodman in East Twenty-Seventh Street. 
Now, my name must not " 



172 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

Helen Tower laughed in that dry way which 
often annoyed him. 

" Surely by this time you regard me as a 
trustworthy person," she said. 

So Fowle had proven himself a capable 
tracker, and Winifred's persecutors were again 
closing in on her. But who would have imag- 
ined that the worst and most deadly of them 
might be the mother of her Rex? That, surely, 
was something akin to steeping in poison the 
assassin's dagger. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE VISITOR. 

you Miss Winifred Bartlett?" asked 
Mrs. Carshaw the next afternoon in that remote 
part of East Twenty-Seventh Street which for 
the first time bore the rubber tires of her lim- 
ousine. 

"Yes, madam,'* said Winifred, who stood 
rather" pale before that large and elegant pres- 
ence. It was in the front room of the two which 
Winifred occupied. 

"But where have I seen you before?" asked 
Mrs. Carshaw suddenly, making play with a 
pair of mounted eye-glasses. 

"I cannot say, madam. Will you be seated?" 

"What a pretty girl you are!" exclaimed the 
visitor, wholly unconscious of the calm insol- 
ence which "society" uses to its inferiors. 
"I'm certain I have seen you somewhere, for 
your face is perfectly familiar, but for the life 
of me I cannot recall the occasion." 

Mrs. Carshaw was not mistaken. Some dim 
cell of memory was stirred by the girl's like- 
ness to her mother. For once Senator Meikle- 
john's scheming had brought him to the edge of 

173 



174 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

the precipice. But the dangerous moment 
passed. Rex's mother was thinking of other 
and more immediate matters. Winifred stood 
silent, scared, with a foreboding of the meaning 
of this tremendous visit. 

"Now, I am come to have a quiet chat with 
you," said Mrs. Carshaw, "and I only hope 
that you will look on me as a friend, and be per- 
fectly at your ease. I am sorry the nature of 
my visit is not of a quite pleasant nature, but 
no doubt we shall be able to understand each 
other, for you look good and sweet. Where 
have I seen you before? You are a sweetly 
pretty girl, do you know? I can't altogether 
blame poor Rex, for men are not very rational 
creatures, are they? Come, now, and sit quite 
near beside me on this chair, and let me talk to 
you. ' ' 

Winifred came and sat, with tremulous lip, 
not saying a word. 

' ' First, I wish to know something about your- 
self," said Mrs. Carshaw, trying honestly to 
adopt a motherly tone. "Do you live here all 
alone? Where are your parents?" 

"I have none as far as I know. Yes, I live 
here alone, for the present." 

"But no relatives?" 

"I have an aunt a sort of aunt but " 

"You are mysterious 'a sort of aunt.' And 
is this 'sort of aunt' with you here?" 



TEE VISITOR 175 

' ' No. I used to live with her, but within the 
last month we have separated." 

"Is that my son's doings?" 

"No that is no." 

"So you are quite alone?" 

"Yes." 

"And my son comes to see you?" 

"He comes yes, he comes." 

"But that is rather defiant of everything, is 
it not?" 

A blush of almost intense carmine washed 
Winifred's face and neck. Mrs. Carshaw knew 
how to strike hard. Every woman knows how 
to hurt another woman. 

"Miss Goodman, my landlady, usually stays 
in here when he comes," said she. 

"All the time?" 

"Most of the time." 

"Well, I must not catechise you. No one 
woman has the right to do that to another, and 
you are sweet to have answered me at all. I 
think you are good and true ; and you will there- 
fore find it all the easier to sympathize with my 
motives, which have your own good at heart, as 
well as my son's. First of all, do you under- 
stand that my son is very much in love with 
you?" 

"I you should not ask me I may have 
thought that he liked me. Has he told you 
so!" 



176 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"He has never mentioned your name to me. 
I never knew of your existence till yesterday. 
But it is so ; he is fond of you, to such an un- 
usual extent, that quite a scandal has arisen in 
his social set " 

"Not about me?" 

"Yes." 

"But there is nothing " 

"Yes; it is reported that he intends to marry 
you. ' ' 

"And is that what the scandal is about? I 
thought the scandal was when you did not 
marry, not when you did." 

Mrs. Carshaw permitted herself to be sur- 
prised. She had not looked for such weapons in 
Winifred's armory. But she was there to carry 
out what she deemed an almost sacred mission, 
and the righteous can be horribly unjust. 

"Yes, in the middle classes, but not in the 
upper, which has its own moral code not a 
strictly Biblical one, perhaps," she retorted 
glibly. "With us the scandal is not that you 
and my son are friends, but that he should seri- 
ously think of marrying you, since you are on 
such different levels. You see, I speak plainly." 

Winifred suddenly covered her face with her 
hands. For the first time she measured the 
great gulf yawning between her and that dear 
hope growing up in her heart. 

"That is how the matter stands before mar- 



TEE VISITOR 177 

riage," went on Mrs. Carshaw, sure that she 
was kind in being merciless. "You can con- 
ceive how it would be afterwards. And society 
is all nature it never forgives; or, if it for- 
gives, it may condone sins, but never an in- 
discretion. Nor must you think that your love 
would console my son for the great social loss 
which his connection with you threatens to 
bring on him. It will console him for a month, 
but a wife is not a world, nor, however beloved, 
does she compensate for the loss of the world. 
If, therefore, you love my son, as I take it that 
you do do you?" 

Winifred's face was covered. She did not 
answer. 

"Tell me in confidence. I am a woman, too, 
and know ' 

A sob escaped from the poor bowed head. 
Mrs. Carshaw was moved. She had not counted 
on so hard a task. She had even thought of 
money ! 

* ' Poor thing ! That will make your duty very 
hard. I wish but there is no use in wishing! 
Necessity knows no pity. Winifred, you must 
summon all your strength of mind, and get out 
of this false position." 

1 ' What am I to do ? What can I do V ' wailed 
Winifred. She was without means or occupa- 
tion, and could not fly from the house. 

"You can go away," said Mrs. Carshaw, 



"without letting him know whither you have 
gone, and till you go you can throw cold water 
on his passion by pretending dislike or indiffer- 
ence " 

"But could I do such a thing, even if I 
tried?" came the despairing cry. 

"It will be hard, certainly, but a woman 
should be able to accomplish everything for the 
man she loves. Remember for whose sake you 
will be doing it, and promise me before I leave 
you. ' ' 

1 * Oh, you should give me time to think before 
I promise anything," sobbed Winifred. "I 
believe I shall go mad. I am the most unfor- 
tunate girl that ever lived. I did not seek him 
he sought me ; and now, when I Have you 
no pity?" 

' ' You see that I have not only pity, but con- 
fidence. It is hard, but I feel that you will rise 
to it. I, and you, are acting for Rex's sake, and 
I hope, I believe, you will do your share in sav- 
ing him. And now I must go, leaving my sting 
behind me. I am so sorry! I never dreamed 
that I should like you so well. I have seen you 
before somewhere it seems to me in an old 
dream. Good-by, good-by! It had to be done, 
and I have done it, but not gladly. Heaven help 
us women, and especially all mothers!" 

Winifred could not answer. She was choked 
with sobs, so Mrs. Carshaw took her departure 



TEE VISITOR 179 

in a kind of stealthy haste. She was far more 
unhappy now than when she entered that quiet 
house. She came in bristling with resolution. 
She went out, seemingly victorious, but feeling 
small and mean. 

When she was gone Winifred threw herself 
on a couch with buried head, and was still there 
an hour later when Miss Goodman brought up a 
letter. It was from a dramatic agent whom she 
had often haunted for work or rather it was 
a letter on his office paper, making an appoint- 
ment between her and a " manager" at some 
high-sounding address in East Orange, New 
Jersey, when, the writer said, "business might 
result. ' ' 

She had hardly read it when Rex Carshaw's 
tap came to the door. 

About that same time Steingall threw a note 
across his office table to Clancy, who was there 
to announce that in a house in Brooklyn a fine 
haul of coiners, dies, presses, and other illicit 
articles, human and inanimate, had just been 
made. 

"Ralph V. Voles and his bad man from the 
West have come back to New York again," 
said the chief. "You might give 'em an eye." 

"Why on earth doesn't Carshaw marry the 
girl?" said Clancy. 

"I dunno. He's straight, isn't he?" 

"Strikes me that way." 



180 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Me, too. Anyhow, let's pick up a few 
threads. I've a notion that Senator Meiklejohn 
thinks he has side-stepped the Bureau." 

Clancy laughed. His mirth was grotesque 
as the grin of one of those carved ivories of 
Japan, and to the effect of the crinkled features 
was added a shrill cackle. The chief glanced 
up. 

"Don't do that," he said sharply. "You get 
my goat when you make that beastly noise!" 

These two were beginning again to snap at 
each other about the Senator and his affairs, 
and their official quarrels usually ended badly 
for the other fellow. 



CHAPTER XVI 

WINIFRED DRIFTS 

WINIFRED, pale as death, rose to receive her 
lover, with that letter in her hand which made 
an appointment with her at a house in East 
Orange; a letter which she believed to have 
been written by a dramatic agent, but which 
was actually inspired by Senator Meiklejohn. 
It was the bait of the trap which should put her 
once more in the power of Meiklejohn and his 
accomplices. 

During a few tense seconds the girl prayed 
for power to play the bitter part which had 
been thrust upon her to play it well for the 
sake of the man who loved her, and whom she 
loved. The words of his mother were still in 
her ears. She had to make him think that she 
did not care for him. In the last resort she had 
to fly from him. She had tacitly promised to 
do this woeful thing. 

Far enough from her innocent mind was it 
to dream that the visit of Rex's mother had 
been brought about by her enemies in order to 
deprive her of a protector and separate her 

181 



182 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

from her lover at the very time when he was 
most necessary to save her. 

Carshaw entered in high spirits. "Well, I 
have news " he began. "But, hello! What's 
the matter?" 

"With whom?" asked Winifred. 

"You look pale." 

"Do I? It is nothing." 

"You have been crying, surely." 

"Havel?" 

"Tell me. What is wrong?" 

"Why should I tell you, if anything is 
Wrong?" 

He stood amazed at this speech. "Odd 
words," said he, looking at her in a stupor of 
surprise, almost of anger. "Whom should you 
tell but me?" 

This touched Winifred, and, struggling with 
the lump in her throat, she said, unsteadily: "I 
am not very well to-day; if you will leave me 
now, and come perhaps some other time, you 
will oblige me." 

Carshaw strode nearer and caught her shoul- 
der. 

* ' But what a tone to me ! Have I done some- 
thing wrong, I wonder? Winnie, what is 
it?" 

"I have told you I am not very well. I do not 
desire your company to-day." 

"Whew! What majesty! It must be gome- 



WINIFRED DRIFTS 183 

thing outrageous. But what? Won't you be 
dear and kind, and tell me!" 

"You have done nothing." 

"Yes, I have. I think I can guess. I spoke 
of Helen Tower yesterday as of an old sweet- 
heart was that it? And it is all jealousy. 
Surely I didn't say much. What on earth did 
I say? That she was like a Gainsborough; that 
she was rather a beauty; that she was elancee 
at twenty- two. But I didn't mean any harm. 
Why, it's jealousy!" 

At this Winifred drew herself up to dis- 
charge a thunderbolt, and though she winced at 
the Olympian effort, managed to say distinctly : 

' ' There can be no jealousy where there is no 
love." 

Carshaw stood silent, momentarily stunned, 
like one before whom a thunderbolt has really 
exploded. At last, looking at the pattern of a 
frayed carpet, he said humbly enough: 

"Well, then, I must be a very unfortunate 
sort of man, Winifred." 

"Don't believe me!" Winifred wished to cry 
out. But the words were checked on her white 
lips. The thought arose in her, "He that put- 
teth his hand to the plow and looketh back " 

"It is sudden, this truth that you tell me," 
went on Carshaw. "Is it a truth?" 

"Yes." 

"You are not fond of me, Winnie?" 



184 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY, 

"I have a liking for you." 

"That all?" 

"That is all." 

"Don't say it, dear. I suffer." 

"Do you? No, don't suffer. I can't help 
myself. ' ' 

"You are sorry for me, then?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"But how came I, then, to have the opposite 
impression so strongly? I think I can't help 
thinking that it was your fault, dear. You 
made me hope, perhaps without meaning me to, 
that that life was to be happy for me. When 
I entered that door just now no man in New 
York had a lighter step than I, or a more care- 
less heart. I shall go out of it different, dear. 
You should not have allowed me to think 
what I did ; and you should not have told me the 
truth so quite so suddenly." 

"Sit down. You are not fair to me. I did 
not know you cared " 

"You you did not know that I cared? Come, 
that's not true, girl!" 

"Not so much, I mean not quite so much. 
I thought that you were flirting with me, as I 
perhaps was flirting with you." 

"Who is that I hear speaking? Is it Wini- 
fred? The very sound of her voice seems dif- 
ferent. Am I dreaming? She flirting with me ? 
I don't realize her it is a different girl! Qh\ 



WINIFRED DRIFTS 185 

this thing comes to me like a falling steeple. 
It had no right to happen ! ' ' 

"You should sit down, or you should go; 
better go better, better go," and Winifred 
clutched wildly at her throat. "Let us part 
now, and let us never meet ! ' ' 

"If you like, if you wish it," said Carshaw, 
still humbly, for he was quite dazed. "It seems 
sudden. I am not sure if it is a dream or not. 
It isn't a happy one, if it is. But have we no 
business to discuss before you send me away in 
this fashion! Do you mean to throw off my 
help as well as myself?" 

"I shall manage. I have an offer of work 
here in my hands. I shall soon be at work, 
and will then send the amount of the debt which 
I owe you, though you care nothing about that, 
and I know that I can never repay you for all. ' ' 

"Yes, that is true, too, in a way. Am I, then, 
actually to go?" 

"Yes." 

"But you are not serious? Think of my living 
on, days and years, and not seeing you any 
more. It seems a pitiable thing, too. Even you 
must be sorry for me." 

"Yes, it seems a pitiable thing!" 

"So what do you say?" 

"Good-by. Go go!" 

"But you will at least let me know where 
you are? Don't be quite lost to me." 



186 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"I shall be here for some time. But you 
won't come. I mustn't see you. I demand 
that much." 

"No, no. I won't come, you may be sure. 
And you, on your part, promise that if you 
have need of money you will let me know? 
That is the least I can expect of you." 

"I will; but go. I will have you in my 
memory. Only go from me now, if you 
love " 

"Good-by, then. I do not understand, but 
good-by. I am all in, Winnie; but still, good- 
by. God bless you " 

He kissed her hand and went. Her skin was 
cold to his lips, and, in a numb way, he won- 
dered why. A moment after he had disap- 
peared she called his name, but in an awful, 
hushed voice which he could not hear; and she 
fell at her length on the couch. 

"Rex! My love! My dear love," she 
moaned, and yet he did not hear, for the sky 
had propped on him. 

There she lay a little while, yet it was not all 
pain with her. There is one sweetest sweet 
to the heart, one drop of intensest honey, 
sweeter to it than any wormwood is bitter, 
which consoled her the consciousness of self- 
sacrifice, of duty done, of love lost for love's 
sake. Mrs. Carshaw had put the girl on what 
Senator Meiklejohn cynically called "the heroic 



WINIFRED DRIFTS 187 

tack"; and, having gone on that tack, Wini- 
fred deeply understood that there was a secret 
smile in it, and a surprising light. She lay 
catching her breath till Miss Goodman brought 
up the tea-tray, expecting to find the cheery 
Carshaw there as usual, for she had not heard 
him go out. 

Instead, she found Winifred sobbing on the 
couch, for Winifred's grief was of that depth 
which ceases to care if it is witnessed by others. 
The good landlady came, therefore, and knelt 
by Winifred's side, put her arm about her, and 
began to console and question her. The con- 
solation did no good, but the questions did. 
For, if one is persistently questioned, one must 
answer something sooner or later, and the 
mind's effort to answer breaks the thread of 
grief, and so the commonplace acts as a medi- 
cine to tragedy. 

In the end Winifred was obliged to sit up and 
go to the table where the tea-things were. This 
was in itself a triumph ; and her effort to secure 
solitude and get rid of Miss Goodman was a 
further help toward throwing off her mood of 
despair. By the time Miss Goodman was gone 
the storm was somewhat calmed. 

During that sad evening, which she spent 
alone, she read once more the le'tter making 
the appointment with her at East Orange. 
Now, reading it a second time, she felt a twinge 



188 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

of doubt. Who could it be, she wondered, whom 
she would have to see there? East Orange 
was some way off. A meeting of this sort usu- 
ally took place in New York, at an office. 

Her mind was not at all given to suspicions, 
but on reading over the letter for the third 
time, she now noticed that the signature was 
not in the handwriting of the agent. She knew 
his writing quite well, for he had sent her other 
letters. This writing was, indeed, something 
like his, but certainly not his. It might be a 
clerk's; the letter was typed on his office 
paper. 

To say that she was actually disturbed by 
these little rills of doubt would not be quite 
true. Still, they did arise in her mind, and left 
her not perfectly at ease. The touch of un- 
easiness, however, made her ask herself why 
she should now become a singer at all. It was 
Carshaw who had pressed it upon her, because 
she had insisted on the vital necessity of doing 
something quickly, and he had not wished her 
to work again with her hands. In reality, he 
was scheming to gain time. 

Now that they were parted she saw no reason 
why she should not throw off all this stage am- 
bition, and toil like other girls as good as she. 
She had done it. She was skilled in the book- 
binding craft; she might do it again. She 
counted her money and saw that she had enough 



WINIFRED DRIFTS 189 

to carry her on a week, or even two, with econ- 
omy. Therefore, she had time in which to seek 
other work. 

Even if she did not find it she would have 
not the slightest hesitation in "borrowing" 
from Rex ; for, after all, all that he had was hers 
she knew it, and he knew it. Before she went 
to bed she decided to throw up the singing am- 
bition, not to go to the appointment at East 
Orange, but to seek some other more modest 
occupation. 

About that same hour Rex Carshaw walked 
desolately to the apartment in Madison Avenue. 
He threw himself into a chair and propped his 
head on a hand, saying: "Well, mother!" for 
Mrs. Carshaw was in the room. 

His mother glanced anxiously at him, for 
though Winifred had promised to keep secret 
the fact of her visit, she was in fear lest some 
hint of it might have crept out; nor had she 
foreseen quite so deadly an effect on her son as 
was now manifest. He looked careworn and 
weary, and the maternal heart throbbed. 

She came and stood over him. "Rex, you 
don't look well," said he. 

"No; perhaps I'm not very well, mother," 
said he listlessly. 

"Can I do anything?" 

"No; I'm rather afraid that the mischief is 
beyond you, mother." 



190 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Poor boy! It is some trouble, I know. 
Perhaps it would do you good to tell me." 

"No; don't worry, mother. I'd rather be 
left alone, there's a dear." 

"Only tell me this. Is it very bad? Does it 
hurtmuch?" 

"Where's the use of talking? What cannot 
be cured must be endured. Life isn't all a 
smooth run on rubber tires." 

"But it will pass, whatever it is. Bear up 
and be brave." 

"Yes; I suppose it will pass when I am 
dead." 

She tried to smile. 

"Only the young dream of death as a relief," 
she said. "But such wild words hurt, Rex." 

"That's all right, only leave me alone; you 
can't help. Give me a kiss, and then go." 

A tear wet his forehead when Mrs. Carshaw 
laid her lips there. 



CHAPTER XVII 

ALL EOADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 

THE next day Winifred set about her new pur- 
pose of finding some other occupation than that 
connected with the stage, though she rose from 
bed that morning feeling ill, having hardly 
slept throughout the night. 

First, she read over once more the "agent's" 
letter, and was again conscious of an extremely 
vague feeling of something queer in it when 
she reflected on the lateness of the hour of the 
rendezvous eight in the evening. She decided 
to write, explaining her change of purpose, and 
declining the interview with this nebulous 
"client." She did not write at once. She 
thought that she would wait, and see first the 
result of the day's search for other employ- 
ment. 

Soon after breakfast she went out, heading 
for Brown's, her old employers in Greenwich 
Village, who had turned her away after the 
yacht affair and the arrest of her aunt. 

As she waited at the crossing where the cars 
pass, her eyes rested on a man a clergyman, 
apparently standing on the opposite pave- 

191 



192 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

merit. He was not at the moment looking that 
way, and she took little notice of him, though 
her subconsciousness may have recognized 
something familiar in the lines of his body. 

It was Fowle in a saintly garb, Fowle in a 
shovel hat, Fowle interested in the comings and 
goings of Winifred. Fowle, moreover, in those 
days, floated on the high tide of ease, and had 
plenty of money in his pocket. He not only 
looked, but felt like a person of importance, 
and when Winifred entered a street-car, Fowle 
followed in a taxi. 

There was a new foreman at Brown's now, 
and he received the girl kindly. She laid her 
case before him. She had been employed there 
and had given satisfaction. Then, all at once, 
an event with which she had nothing more to 
do than people in China, had caused her to be 
dismissed. Would not the firm, now that the 
whole business had blown over, reinstate her? 

The man heard her attentively through and 
said: 

"Hold on. I'll have a talk with the boss." 
He left her, and was gone ten minutes. Then 
he returned, with a shaking head. "No, 
Brown's never take any one back," said he; 
"but here's a list of bookbinding firms which 
he's written out for you, and he says he'll give 
you a recommendation if any of 'em give you 
a job." 



With this list Winifred went out, and, deter- 
mined to lose no time, started on the round, tak- 
ing the nearest first, one in Nineteenth Street. 
She walked that way, and slowly behind her 
followed a clergyman. The firm in Nineteenth 
Street wanted no new hand. Winifred got into 
a Twenty-Third Street cross-town car. After 
her sped a taxi. 

And now, when she stopped at the third book- 
binder's, Fowle knew her motive. She was 
seeking work at the old trade. He was puzzled, 
knowing that she had wished to become a 
singer, and being aware, too, of the appointment 
for the next night at East Orange. Had she, 
then, changed her purpose? Perhaps she was 
seeking both kinds of employment, meaning to 
accept the one which came first. If the book- 
binding won out that might be dangerous to 
the rendezvous. 

In any case, Fowle resolved to nip the project 
in the bud. He would go later in the day to all 
the firms she had visited, ask if they had en- 
gaged her, and, if so, drop a hint that she had 
been dismissed from Brown's for being con- 
nected with the crime committed against Mr. 
Eonald Tower. A bogus clergyman's word was 
good for something, anyhow. 

From Twenty-Third Street, where there was 
no work, Winifred made her way to Twenty- 
Ninth Street, followed still by the taxi. Here 



194 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

things turned out better for her. She was 
seen by a manager who told her that they 
would be short-handed in three or four days, 
and that, if she could really produce a refer- 
ence from Brown's he would engage her per- 
manently. Winifred left him her address, so 
that he might write and tell her when she could 
come. 

She lunched in a cheap restaurant and walked 
to her lodgings. Color flooded her cheeks, but 
she was appalled by her loneliness, by the emp- 
tiness of her life. To bind books and to live 
for binding books, that was not living. She 
had peeped into Paradise, but the gate had been 
shut in her face, and the bookbinding world 
seemed an intolerably flat and stale rag-fair in 
comparison. 

How was she to live it through, she asked 
herself. When she went up to her room the 
once snug and homely place disgusted her. 
How was she to live through the vast void of 
that afternoon alone in that apartment? How 
bridge the vast void of to-morrow? The salt 
had lost its savor; she tasted ashes; life was all 
sand of the desert ; she would not see him any 
more. The resolution which had carried her 
through the interview with Carshaw failed her 
now, and she blamed herself for the murder 
of herself. 

"Ph, how could I have done such a thing V 1 



'ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 195 

she cried, bursting into tears, with her hat still 
on and her head on the table. 

She had to write a letter to the "agent," 
telling him that she did not mean to keep the 
rendezvous at East Orange, since she had ob- 
tained other work, and with difficulty summoned 
the requisite energy. Every effort was nause- 
ous to her. Her whole nature was absorbed in 
digesting her one great calamity. 

Next morning it was the same. Her arms 
hung listlessly by her side. She evaded little 
domestic tasks. Though her clothes were new, 
a girl can always find sewing and stitching. A 
certain shirtwaist needed slight adjustment, 
but her fingers fumbled a simple task. She 
passed the time somehow till half past four. 
At that hour there was a ring at the outer door. 
In the absorption of her grief she did not hear 
it, though it was "his" hour. A step sounded 
on the stairs, and this she heard; but she 
thought it was Miss Goodman bringing tea. 

Then, brusquely, without any knock, the door 
opened, and she saw before her Carshaw. 

"Oh!" she screamed, in an ecstasy of joy, 
and was in his arms. 

The rope which bound her had snapped thus 
suddenly for the simple reason that Carshaw 
had promised never to come again, and was 
very strict, as she knew, in keeping his pledged 
word. Therefore, until the moment when her 



196 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

distraught eyes took in the fact of his presence, 
she had not the faintest hope or thought of see- 
ing him for many a day to come, if ever. 

Seeing him all at once in the midst of her 
desert of despair, her reason swooned, all fixed 
principles capsized, and instinct swept her 
triumphantly, as the whirlwind bears a feather, 
to his ready embrace. He, for his part, had 
broken his promise because he could not help it. 
He had to come so he came. His dismissal 
had been too sudden to be credible, to find room 
in his brain. It continued to have something 
of the character of a dream, and he was here 
now to convince himself that the dream was 
true. 

Moreover, in her manner of sending him 
away, in some of her words, there had been 
something unreal and unconvincing, with 
broken hints of love, even as she denied love, 
which haunted and puzzled his memory. If he 
had made a thousand promises he would still 
have to return to her. 

"Well," said he, his face alight for joy as she 
moaned on his breast, "what is it all about? 
You unreliable little half of a nerve, Winnie!" 

( ' I can 't help it ; kiss me only once ! ' ' panted 
Winifred, with tears streaming down her up- 
turned face. 

Carshaw needed no bidding. Kiss her oncei! 
Well, a man should smile. 



r ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 197 

"What is it all about?" he demanded, when 
Winifred was quite breathless. "Am I loved, 
then?" 

Her forehead was on his shoulder, and she 
did not answer. 

"It seems so," he whispered. "Silence is 
said to mean consent. But why, then, was I 
not loved the day before yesterday?" 

Still Winifred dared not answer. The frenzy 
was passing, the moral nature re-arising, 
stronger than ever, claiming its own. She had 
promised and failed! What she did was not 
well for him. 

"Tell me," he urged, with a lover's eager- 
ness. "You'll have to, some time, you know." 

"You promised not to come. You promised 
definitely," said Winifred, disengaging herself 
from him. 

"Could I help coming?" cried he. "I was 
in the greatest bewilderment and misery!" 

' * So you will always come, even if you prom- 
ise not to?" 

"But I won't promise not to! Where is the 
need now? You love me, I love you!" 

Winifred turned away from him, went to the 
window and looked out, seeing nothing, for the 
eyes of the soul were busy. Her lips were now 
firmly set, and during the minute that she stood 
there a rapid train of thought and purpose 
passed through her mind. She had promised 



198 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

to give him up, and she would go through with 
it. It was for him and it was sweet, though 
bitter, to be a martyr. But she recognized 
clearly that so long as he knew where to find 
her the thing could never be done. She made up 
her mind to be gone from those lodgings by 
that hour the next day, and to be buried from 
him in some other part of the great city. She 
would never in that case be able to ask him for 
help to keep going, without giving her address, 
but in a few days she would have work at the 
new bookbinder's. This well settled in her 
mind, she turned inward to him, saying: 

"Miss Goodman will soon bring up tea. 
Come, let us be happy to-day. You want to 
know if I love you? Well, the answer is yes, 
yes; so now you know, and can never doubt. 
I want you to stay a long time this afternoon, 
and I invite you to be my dear, dear guest on 
one condition that you don't ask me why I 
told you that awful fib the day before yesterday, 
for I don't mean to tell you!" 

Of course Carshaw took her again in his 
arms, and, without breaking her conditions, 
stayed with her till nearly six. She was se- 
dately gay all the time, but, on kissing him good- 
by, she wept quietly, and as quietly she said to 
her landlady when he was gone : 

"Miss Goodman, I am going away to-morrow 
always, I'm afraid." 



'ALL ROADS LEAD TO EAST ORANGE 199 

Soon after this six o'clock struck. At ten 
minutes past the hour Miss Goodman brought 
up two letters. 

Without looking at the handwriting on the 
envelopes, Winifred tore open one, laying the 
other on a writing-desk, this latter being from 
the agent in answer to the one she had written. 
She had told him that she did not mean to keep 
the appointment at East Orange, and he now 
assured her that he had certainly never made 
any appointment for her at East Orange. The 
thing was some blunder. New York impres- 
arios did not make appointments in East 
Orange. He asked for an explanation. 

Pity that she did not open this letter before 
the other for the other was of a nature to drive 
the existence of the agent's letter of any let- 
ter out of her head; for days afterward that 
all-important message lay on the table un- 
opened. 

The note which Winifred did read was from 
the bookbinding manager who had all but en- 
gaged her that day. He now informed her that 
he would have no use for her services. The 
clergyman in the taxi had followed very effec- 
tively on Winifred's trail. 

She was stunned by this final blow. Her 
eyes gazed into vacancy. What she was to do 
now she did not know. The next day she had 
to go away into strange lodgings, with hardly 



200 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

any money, without any possibility of her 
applying again to Eex, without support of 
any sort. She had never known real poverty, 
for her "aunt" had always more or less been 
in funds; and the prospect appalled her. She 
would face it, however, at all costs, and, the 
bookbinding failing her, her mind naturally re- 
curred, with a gasp of hope, to the singing. 

There was the appointment at East Orange 
at eight. She looked at the clock; she might 
have time, though it would mean an instant 
rush. She would go. True, she had written the 
agent to say that she would not, and he might 
have so advised his client. But perhaps he had 
not had time to do this, since she had written 
him so late. In any case, there was a chance 
that she should meet the person in question, and 
then she could explain. Suddenly she leaped 
up, hurried on her hat and coat, and ran out 
of the house. In a few minutes she was at the 
Hudson Tube, bound for Hoboken and East 
Orange. 

Of course it was a mad thing to leave an un- 
opened letter on the table, but just then poor 
Winifred was nearly out of her mind. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE CRASH 

WHEN Carshaw came, with lightsome step 
and heart freed from care for in some re- 
spects he was irresponsible as any sane man 
could be to visit his beloved Winifred next 
day, he was met by a frightened and somewhat 
incoherent Miss Goodman. 

"Not been home all night! Surely you can 
offer some explanation further than that mad- 
dening statement?" cried he, when the shock 
of her news had sent the color from his face 
and the joy from his eyes. 

"Oh, sir, I don't know what to say. Indeed, 
I am not to blame." 

Miss Goodman, kind-hearted soul, was more 
flurried now by Carshaw 's manner than by 
Winifred's inexplicable disappearance. 

"Blame, my good woman, who is imputing 
blame?" he blazed at her. "But there's a hid- 
den purpose, a convincing motive, in her going 
out and not returning. Give me some clue, 
some reason. A clear thought now, the right 
word from you, may save hours of useless 
search." 

SO* 



202 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"How can I give any clues'?" cried the be- 
wildered landlady. "The dear- young creature 
was crying all day fit to break her heart after 
the lady called" 

"The lady! What lady?" 

"Your mother, sir. Didn't she tell you? Mrs. 
Carshaw was here the day before yesterday, 
and she must have spoken very cruelly to Wini- 
fred to make her so downcast for hours. I 
was that sorry for her " 

Now, Carshaw had the rare faculty rare, 
that is, in men of a happy-go-lucky tempera- 
ment of becoming a human iceberg in moments 
of danger or difficulty. The blank absurdity of 
Miss Goodman's implied assertion that Wini- 
fred had run away though, indeed, running 
away was uppermost in the girl's thoughts 
had roused him to fiery wrath. 

But the haphazard mention of his mother's 
visit, the coincidence of Winifred's unexpect- 
edly strange behavior and equally unexpected 
transition to a wildly declared love, revealed 
some of the hidden sources of events, and over 
the volcano of his soul he imposed a layer of 
ice. He even smiled pleasantly as he begged 
Miss Goodman to dry her eyes and be seated. 

"We are at loggerheads, you see," he said, 
almost cheerfully. "Just let us sit down and 
have a quiet talk. Tell me everything you 
know, and in the order in which things hap-, 



THE CRASH 203 

pened. Tell me facts, and if you are guess- 
ing at probabilities, tell me you are guess- 
ing. Then we shall soon unravel the tangled 
threads." 

Thus reassured, Miss Goodman took him 
through the records of the past forty-eight 
hours, so far as she knew them. After the first 
few words he required no explanations of his 
mother's presence in that middle-class section 
of Manhattan. She had gone there in her 
stately limousine to awe and bewilder a poor 
little girl to frighten an innocent out of loving 
her son and thus endangering her own gran- 
diose projects for his future. 

It was pardonable, perhaps, from a worldly 
woman's point of view. That there were other 
aspects of it she should soon see, with a certain 
definiteness, the cold outlines of which already 
made his mouth stern, and sent little lines to 
wrinkle his forehead. He had spared her hith- 
erto had hoped to keep on sparing her yet 
she had not spared Winifred! But who had 
prompted her to this heartless deed! He loved 
his mother. Her faults were those of society, 
her virtues were her own. She had lived too 
long in an atmosphere of artificiality not to 
have lost much of the fine American womanli- 
ness that was her birthright. That could be 
cured he alone knew how. The puzzling 
query, for a little while, was the identity of the 



204 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

cruel, calculating, ruthless enemy who struck 
by her hand. 

There was less light shed on Winifred's own 
behavior. He recalled her words: ''You want 
to know if I love you yes, yes I want you to 
stay a long time this afternoon don't ask me 
why Liold you that awful fib 

And then her confession to Miss Goodman: 
"I am going away to-morrow for always, I'm 
afraid." 

What did that portend? Ah, yes; she was 
going to some place where he could not find her, 
to bury herself away from his love and because 
of her love for him. It was no new idea in wo- 
man's heart, this. For long ages in India sor- 
rowing wives burned themselves to death on 
the funeral pyres of their lords. Poor Wini- 
fred only reversed the method of the sacrifice 
: its result would be the same. 

"But 'to-morrow' to-day, that is. You are 
quite sure of her words?" he persisted. 

"Oh, yes, sir; quite sure. Besides she has 
left her clothes and letters, and little knick- 
knacks of jewelry. Would you care to see 
them?" 

For an instant he hesitated, for he was a man 
of refinement, and he hated the necessity of 
prying into the little secrets of his dear one. 
Then he agreed, and Miss Goodman took him 
from her own sitting-room to that tenanted by 



THE CRASH 205 

Winifred. Her presence seemed to linger in the 
air. His eyes traveled to the chair from which 
she rose with that glad crooning cry when he 
came to her so few hours earlier. 

On the table lay her tiny writing-case. In it, 
unopened, and hidden by the discouraging mis- 
sive from the bookbinder's, rested the note 
from the dramatic agent, with the thrice-im- 
portant clue of its plain statement: "I have 
made no appointment for you at any house near 
East Orange." 

But Miss Goodman had already thrown open 
the door which led to Winifred's bedroom. 

"You can see for yourself, sir," she said, 
"the room was not occupied last night. Nor 
that she could be in the house without me know- 
ing it, poor thing. There are her clothes in the 
wardrobe, and the dressing-table is tidy. She's 
extraordinarily neat in her ways, is Miss Bart- 
lett quite different from the empty-headed 
creatures girls mostly are nowadays." 

Miss Goodman spoke bitterly. She was fifty, 
gray-haired, and a hopeless old maid. This 
point of view sours the appearance of saucy 
eighteen with the sun shining in its tresses. 

Carshaw swallowed something in his throat. 
The sanctity of this inner room of Winifred's 
overwhelmed him. He turned away hastily. 

"All right, Miss Goodman," he said; "we 
can learn nothing here. Let us go back to your 



206 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

apartment, and I'll tell you what I want you 
to do now." 

Passing the writing-desk again he looked 
more carefully at its contents. A small packet 
of bills caught his eye. There were the re- 
ceipts for such simple articles as Winifred had 
bought with his money. Somehow, the mere 
act of examining such a list struck him 
with a sense of profanation. He could not 
do it. 

His eyes glazed. Hardly knowing what the 
words meant, he glanced through the typed 
document from the bookbinder. It was obvi- 
ously a business letter. He committed no 
breach of the etiquette governing private cor- 
respondence by reading it. So great was his 
delicacy in this respect that he did not even lift 
the letter from the table, but noted the address 
and the curt phraseology. Here, then, was a 
little explanation. He would inquire at that 
place. 

"I want you to telegraph me each morning 
and evening," he said to the landlady. ''Don't 
depend on the phone. If you have news, of 
course you will give it, but if nothing happens 
say that there is no news. Here is my address 
and a five-dollar bill for expenses. Did Miss 
Bartlett owe you anything?" 

"No, sir. She paid me yesterday when she 
gave me notice." 



TEE CRASH 207 

"Ah! Kindly retain her rooms. I don't 
wish any other person to occupy them." 

"Do you think, sir, she will not come back 
to-day?" 

"I fear so. She is detained by force. She 
has been misled by some one. I am going now 
to find out who that some one else is." 

He drove his car, now rejuvenated, with the 
preoccupied gaze of one who seeks to pierce a 
dark and troubled future. From the garage 
he called up the Long Island estate where his 
hacks and polo ponies were housed for the 
winter. He gave some instructions which 
caused the man in charge to blink with astonish- 
ment. 

"Selling everything, Mr. Carshaw!" he said. 
"D' ye really mean it?" 

"Does my voice sound as if I were joking, 
Bates?" 

"No-no, sir; I can't say it does. But " 

"Start on the catalogue now, this evening. 
I'll look after you. Mr. Van Hofen wants a 
good man. Stir yourself, and that place is 
yours. ' ' 

He found his mother at home. She glanced 
at him as he entered her boudoir. She saw, 
with her ready tact, that questions as to his 
state of worry would be useless. 

"Will you be dining at home, Rex?" she 
asked. 



208 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Yes. And you?" 

"I have almost promised to dine en famille 
with the Towers." 

"Better stop here. We have a lot of things 
to arrange." 

1 1 Arrange ! What sort of things ? ' ' 

"Business affairs for the most part." 

' ' Oh, business ! Any discussion of 

"I said nothing about discussion, mother. 
For some years past I have been rather care- 
less in my ways. Now I am going to stop all 
that. A good business maxim is to always 
choose the word that expresses one's meaning 
exactly. ' ' 

"Bex, you speak queerly." 

"That shows I'm doing well. Your ears have 
so long been accustomed to falsity, mother, that 
the truth sounds strangely." 

"My son, do not be so bitter with me. I have 
never in my life had other than the best of 
motives in any thought or action that concerned 
you." 

He looked at her intently. He read in her 
words an admission and a defense. 

"Let us avoid tragedy, mother, at least in 
words. Who sent you to Winifred?" 

"Then she has told you?" 

"She has not told me. Women are either 
angels or fiends. This harmless little angel has 
been driven out of her Paradise in the hope that 



THE CRASH 209 

her butterfly wings may be soiled by the rain 
and mud of Manhattan. Who sent you to her?" 

"Senator Meiklejohn," said Mrs. Carshaw 
defiantly. 

"What, that smug Pharisee! What was his 
excuse?" 

"He said you were the talk of the clubs 
that Helen Tower" 

"She, too! Thank you. I see the drift of 
things now. It was heartless of you, mother. 
Did not Winifred's angel face, twisted into 
misery by your lies, cause you one pang of 
remorse?" 

Mrs. Carshaw rose unsteadily. Her face was 
ghastly in its whiteness. 

"Rex, spare me, for Heaven's sake!" she 
faltered. "I did it for the best. I have suf- 
fered more than you know." 

"I am glad to hear it. You have a good 
nature in its depths, but the canker of society 
has almost destroyed it. That is why you and 
I are about to talk business." 

"I am feeling faint. Let matters rest a few 
hours." 

He strode to the bell and summoned a ser- 
vant. "Bring some brandy and two glasses," 
he said when the man came. 

It was an unusual order at that hour. 
Silently the servant obeyed. Carshaw looked 
put of the window, while his mother, true to her. 



210 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

caste, affected nonchalance before the dom- 
estic. 

"Now," said he when they were alone, "drink 
this. It will steady your nerves." 

She was frightened at last. Her hand shook 
as it took the proffered glass. 

"What has happened?" she asked, with 
quavering voice. She had never seen her son 
like this before. There was a hint of inflexible 
purpose in him that terrified her. When he 
spoke the new crispness in his voice shocked 
her ears. 

"Mere business, I assure you. Not another 
word about Winifred. I shall find her, sooner 
or later, and we shall be married then, at once. 
But, by queer chance, I have been looking into 
affairs of late. The manager of our Massachu- 
setts mills tells me that trade is slack. We have 
been running at a loss for some years. Our 
machinery is antiquated, and we have not the 
accumulated reserves to replace it. We are in 
debt, and our credit begins to be shaky. Think 
of that, mother the name of Carshaw pondered 
over by bank managers and discounters of trade 
bills!" 

"Senator Meiklejohn mentioned this va- 
guely," she admitted. 

"Dear me! WTiat an interest he takes in 
us! I wonder why? But, as a financial mag- 
nate, he understands things." 



THE CEASE 211 

"Your father always said, Rex, that trade 
had its cycles fat years and lean years, you 
know. ' ' 

"Yes. He built up our prosperity by hard 
work, by spending less than half what he 
earned, not by living in a town house and gad- 
ding about in society. Do you remember, 
mother, how he used to laugh at your pretty 
little affectations! I think I own my share of 
the family brains, though, so I shall act now 
as he would have acted." 

"Do you wish to goad me into hysteria? 
What are you driving at?" she shrieked. 

"That is the way to reach the heart of the 
mystery get at the facts, eh? They're simple. 
The business needs three hundred thousand dol- 
lars to give it solidity and staying power ; then 
four or five years' good and economical manage- 
ment will set it right. We have been living at 
the rate of fifty thousand dollars a year. For 
some time we have been executing small mort- 
gages to obtain this annual income, expecting 
the business to clear them. Now the estates 
must come to the help of the business." 

"In what way?" she gasped. 

"They must be mortgaged up to the hilt to 
pay off the small sums and find the large one. 
It will take ten years of nursing to relieve them 
of the burden. Not a penny must come from 
the mills." 



212 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"How shall we live?" she demanded. 

"I have arranged that. Your marriage set- 
tlement of two thousand five hundred dollars 
a year is secured ; that is all. How big it seemed 
in your eyes when you were a bride ! How little 
now, though your real needs are less! I shall 
take a sufficient salary as assistant manager 
while I learn the business. It means two thou- 
sand dollars a year for housekeeping, and I 
have calculated that the sale of all our goods 
will pay our personal debts and leave you and 
me five thousand each to set up small establish- 
ments." 

Mrs. Carshaw flounced into a chair. "You 
must be quite mad!" she cried. 

"No, mother, sane quite sane for the first 
time. Don't you believe me? Go to your law- 
yers; the scheme is really theirs. They are 
good business men, and congratulated me on 
taking a wise step. So you see, mother, I really 
cannot afford a fashionable wife." 

"I am choking!" she gasped. For the mo- 
ment anger filled her soul. 

"Now, be reasonable, there's a good soul. 
Five thousand in the bank, twenty-five hundred 
a year to live on. Why, when you get used to 
it you will say you were never so happy. What 
about dinner? Shall we start economizing at 
once? Let's pay off half a dozen servants be- 
fore we sit down to a chop ! Eh, tears ! Well, 



THE CRASH 213 

they'll help. Sometimes they're good for 
women. Send for me when you are calmer!" 

With a look of real pity in his eyes he bent 
and kissed her forehead. She would have kept 
him with her, but he went away. 

"No," he said, "no discussion, you remem- 
ber ; and I must fix a whole heap of things be- 
fore we dine!" 



CHAPTER XIX 

CLANCY EXPLAINS 

CARSHAW phoned the Bureau, asking for 
Clancy or the chief. Both were out. 

"Mr. Steingall will be here to-morrow," said 
the official in charge. "Mr. Clancy asked me 
to tell you, if you rang up, that he would be 
away till Monday next." 

This was Wednesday evening. Carshaw felt 
that fate was using him ill, for Clancy was the 
one man with whom he wanted to commune in 
that hour of agony. He dined with his mother. 
She, deeming him crazy after a severe attack 
of calf-love, humored his mood. She was calm 
now, believing that a visit to the lawyers next 
day, and her own influence with the mill-man- 
ager and the estate superintendent, would soon 
put a different aspect on affairs. 

A telegram came late: "No news." 

He sought Senator Meiklejohn at his apart- 
ment, but the fox, scenting hounds, had broken 
covert. 

"The Senator will be in Washington next 
week," said the discreet Phillips. "At present, 
sir, he is not in town." 

314 



CLANCY EXPLAINS 215 

Carshaw made no further inquiry; he knew 
it was useless. In the morning another tele- 
gram: "No news!" 

He set his teeth, and smilingly agreed to ac- 
company his mother to the lawyers'. She came 
away in tears. Those serious men strongly 
approved of her son's project. 

"Rex has all his father's grit," said the 
senior partner. "In a little time you will be 
convinced that he is acting rightly." 

"I shall be dead!" she snapped. 

The lawyer lifted his hands with a depreca- 
ting smile. "You have no secrets from me, Mrs. 
Carshaw," he said. "You are ten years my 
junior, and insurance actuaries give women 
longer lives than men when they have attained 
a certain age." 

Carshaw visited Helen Tower. She was 
fluttered. By note he had asked for a tete-a-tete 
interview. But his first words undeceived 
her. 

"Where is Meiklejohn?" he asked. 

"Do you mean Senator Meiklejohn?" she 
corrected him. 

"Yes; the man who acted in collusion with 
you in kidnapping my intended wife." 

"How dare you " 

"Sit down, Helen; no heroics, please. Or 
perhaps you would prefer that Ronald should 
be present?" 



216 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY, 

"This tone, Rex to me!" She was crimson 
with surprise. 

11 You are right : it is better that Tower should 
not be here. He might get a worse douche than 
his plunge into the river. Now, about Meikle- 
johnl? Why did he conspire with you and my 
mother to carry off Winifred Bartlett?" 

"I don't know." 

" Surely there was some motive?" 

"You are speaking in enigmas. I heard of 
the girl from you. I have never seen her. If 
your mother interfered, it was for your good." 

He smiled cynically. The cold, far-away look 
in his eyes was bitter to her soul, yet he had 
never looked so handsome, so distinguished, as 
in this moment when he was ruthlessly telling 
her that another woman absorbed him utterly. 

"What hold has Meiklejohn over you?" he 
went on. 

She simulated tears. "You have no right 
to address me in that manner," she protested. 

"There is a guilty bond somewhere, and I 
shall find it out," he said coldly. "My mother 
was your catspaw. You, Helen, may have been 
spiteful, but Meiklejohn that sleek and smug 
politician- I cannot ttiderstand him. The story 
went that owing to an accidental likeness to 
Meiklejohn your husband was nearly killed. 
His assailant was a man named Voles. Voles 
was an associate of Rachel Craik, the woman 



CLANCY EXPLAINS 217 

who poses as Winifred's aunt. That is the line 
of inquiry. Do you know anything about it?" 

"Not a syllable." 

"Then I must appeal to Ronald." 

"Do so. He is as much in the dark as I 
am." 

"I fancy you are speaking the truth, Helen." 

"Is it manly to come here and insult me?" 

"Was it womanly to place these hounds on 
the track of my poor Winifred? I shall spare 
no one, Helen. Be warned in time. If you can 
help me, do so. I may have pity on my friends, ' 
I shall have none for my enemies." 

He was gone. Mrs. Tower, biting her lips 
and clenching her hands in sheer rage, rushed 
to an escritoire and unlocked it. A letter lay 
there, a letter from Meiklejohn. It was dated 
from the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, Atlantic 
City. 

"Dear Mrs. Tower," it ran, "the Costa Rica 
cotton concession is almost secure. The Presi- 
dent will sign it any day now. But secrecy is 
more than ever important. Tell none but Jacob. 
The market must be kept in the dark. He can 
begin operations quietly. The shares should 
be at par within a week, and at five in a month. 
Wire me the one word 'settled' when Jacob says 
he is ready." 

"At five in a month!" 

Mrs. Tower was promised ten thousand of 



those shares. Their nominal value was one 
dollar. To-day they stood at a few cents. Fifty 
thousand dollars! What a relief it would be! 
Threatening dressmakers, impudent racing 
agents asking for unpaid bets, sneering friends 
who held her I. 0. U.'s for bridge losses, and 
spoke of asking her husband to settle ; all these 
paid triumphantly, and plenty in hand to battle 
in the whirlpool for years it was a stake worth 
fighting for. 

And Meiklejohn? As the price of his help 
in gaining a concession granted by a new com- 
petitor among the cotton-producing States, he 
would be given five shares to her one. Why did 
he dread this girl? That was a fruitful affair 
to probe. But he must be warned. Her lost 
lover might be troublesome at a critical stage 
in the affairs of the cotton market. 

She wrote a telegram: "Settled, but await 
letter." In the letter she gave him some de- 
tails not all of Carshaw's visit. No woman 
will ever reveal that she has been discarded 
by a man whom slue boasted was tied to her 
hat-strings. 

Carshaw sought the detective bureau, but 
Steingall was away now, as well as Clancy. 
"You'll be hearing from one of them" was the 
enigmatic message he was given. 

Eating his heart out in misery, he arranged 
his affairs, received those two daily telegrams 



CLANCY EXPLAINS 219 

from Miss Goodman with their dreadful words, 
4 'No news," and haunted the bookbinder's, and 
Meiklejohn's door hoping to see some of the 
crew of Winifred's persecutors. At the book- 
binder's he learned of the visit of the supposed 
clergyman, whose name, however, did not ap- 
pear in the lists of any denomination. 

At last arrived a telegram from Burlington, 
Vermont. "Come and see me. Clancy." 
Grown wary by experience, Carshaw ascer- 
tained first that Clancy was really at Burling- 
ton. Then he instructed Miss Goodman to tele- 
graph -to him in the north, and quitted New 
York by the night train. 

In the sporting columns of an evening paper 
he read of the sale of his polo ponies. The 
scribe regretted the suggested disappearance 
from the game of "one of the best Number 
Ones" he had ever seen. The Long Island 
estate was let already, and Mrs. Carshaw 
would leave her expensive flat when the lease 
expired. 

Early next day he was greeted by Clancy. 

"Glad to see you, Mr. Carshaw," said the 
little man. "Been here before? No? Charm- 
ing town. None of the infernal racket of New 
York about life in Burlington. Any one who 
got bitten by that bug here would be afflicted 
like the Gadarene swine and rush into Lake 
Champlain. Walk to the hotel? It's a fine 



220 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

morning, and you'll get some bully views of 
the Adiroudacks as you climb the hill." 

"Winifred is gone. Hasn't the Bureau kepi 
you informed?" 

Clancy sighed. 

"I've had Winifred on my mind for days," 
he said irritably. "Can't you forget her for 
half an hour?" 

"She's gone, I tell you. Spirited away the 
very day I asked her to marry me." 

"Well, well. Why didn't you ask her 
sooner?" 

"I had to arrange my affairs. I am poor 
now. How could I marry Winifred under false 
pretenses?" 

"What, then? Did she love you for your 
supposed wealth?" 

"Mr. Clancy, I am tortured. Why have you 
brought me here?" 

"To stop you from playing Meikle John's 
game. I hear that you camp outside his apart- 
ment-house. You and I are going back to New 
York this very day, and the Bureau will soon 
find your Winifred. By the way, how did you 
happen onto the Senator's connection with the 
affair?" 

Taking hope, Carshaw told his story. Clancy 
listened while they breakfasted. Then he un- 
folded a record of local events. 

"The Bureau has known for some time thai; 



VLANCY EXPLAINS 221 

Senator Meiklejohn 's past offered some rather 
remarkable problems," he said, dropping his 
bantering air and speaking seriously. "We 
have never ceased making guarded inquiries. I 
am here now for that very purpose. Some 
thirty years ago, on the death of his father, he 
and his brother, Ralph Vane Meiklejohn, in- 
herited an old-establised banking business in 
[Vermont. Ralph was a bit of a rake, but local 
opinion regarded William as a steady-going, 
domesticated man who would uphold the family 
traditions. There was no ink on the blotter 
during upward of ten years, and William was 
already a candidate for Congress when Ralph 
was involved in a scandal which caused some 
talk at the time. The name of a governess in 
a local house was associated with his, and her 
name was Bartlett." 

Carshaw glanced at the detective with a quick 
uneasiness, which Clancy pretended not to no- 
tice. 

"I have no proof, but absolutely no doubt," 
he continued, "that this woman is now known 
as Rachel Craik. She fell into Ralph Meikle- 
john's clutches then, and has remained his slave 
ever since. Two years later there was a terrific 
sensation here. A man named Marchbanks was 
found lying dead in a lakeside quarry, having 
fallen or been thrown into it. This quarry was 
situated near the Meiklejohn house. Mrs, 



Marchbanks, a ward of Meikle John's father, 
died in childbirth as the result of shock when 
she heard of her husband's death, and inquiry 
showed that all her money had been swallowed 
up in loans to her husband for Stock Exchange 
speculation. Mrs Marchbanks was a noted 
beauty, and her fortune was estimated at nearly 
half a million dollars. It was all the more 
amazing that her husband should have lost such 
a great sum in reckless gambling, seeing that 
those who remember him say he was a nice- 
mannered gentleman of the old type, devoted 
to his wife, and with a passion for cultivating 
orchids. Again, why should Mrs. Marchbanks 's 
bankers and guardians allow her to be ruined 
by a thoughtless fool!" 

Clancy seemed to be asking himself these 
questions ; but Carshaw, so far from New York, 
and with a mind ever dwelling on Winifred, 
said impatiently: 

"You didn't bring me here to tell me about 
some long-forgotten mystery 1 ?" 

"Ah, quit that hair-trigger business!" snap- 
ped Clancy. "You just listen, an' maybe you'll 
hear something interesting. Ealph Vane Meik- 
lejohn left Vermont soon afterward. Twelve 
years ago a certain Ralph Voles was sentenced 
to five years in a penitentiary for swindling. 
Mrs. Marchbanks 's child lived. It was a girl, 
and baptized as Winifred. She was looked after 



CLANCY EXPLAINS 223^ 

as a matter of charity by William Meiklejohn, 
and entrusted to the care of Miss Bartlett, the 
ex-governess." 

Carshaw was certainly "interested" now. 

' ' Winifred ! My Winifred ! " he cried, grasp- 
ing the detective's shoulder in his excite- 
ment. 

4 'Tut, tut!" grinned Clancy. "Guess the 
story's beginning to grip. Yes. Winifred is 
'the image of her mother,' said Voles. She 
must be 'taken away from New York.' Why? 
Why did this same Ralph vanish from Vermont 
after her father's death 'by accident"? Why 
does a wealthy and influential Senator join in 
the plot against her, invoking the aid of your 
mother and of Mrs. Tower! These are ques- 
tions to be asked, but not yet. First, you must 
get back your Winifred, Carshaw, and take care 
that you keep her when you get her." 

"But how? Tell me how to find her!" came 
the fierce demand. 

"If you jump at me like that I'll make you 
stop here another week," said Clancy. "Man 
alive, I hate humbug as much as any man; 
but don't you see that the Bureau must make 
sure of its case before it acts? We can't go 
before a judge until we have better evidence 
than the vague hearsay of twenty years ago. 
But, for goodness' sake, next time you grab 
Winifred, rush her to the nearest clergyman 



224 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

and make her Mrs. Carshaw, Jr. That'll help 
a lot. Leave me to get the Senator and the 
rest of the bunch. Now, if you'll be good, I'll 
show you the house where your Winifred was 
born!" 



CHAPTER XX 

IN THE TOILS 

EAST ORANGE seemed to be a long way from 
New York when Winifred hastened to the 
appointment at " Gateway House," traveling 
thither by way of the Tube and the Lackawanna 
Railway. 

More and more did it seem strange that a 
theatrical agent should fix on such a rendez- 
vous, until a plausible reason suggested itself: 
possibly, some noted impresario had chosen 
this secluded retreat, and the agent had ar- 
ranged a meeting there between his client and 
the great man whose Olympian nod gave suc- 
cess or failure to aspirants for the stage. 

The letter itself was reassuringly explicit as 
to the route she should follow. 

"On leaving the station," it said, "turn to 
the right and walk a mile along the only road 
that presents itself until you see, on the left, 
a large green gate bearing the name 'Gate- 
way House.' Walk in. The house itself is hid- 
den by trees, and stands in spacious grounds. 
If you follow these directions, you will have no 
need to ask the way." 

235 



226 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

The description of the place betokened that 
it was of some local importance, and hope re- 
vived somewhat in her sorrowing heart at the 
impression that perhaps, after all, it was better 
she had failed in finding work at the bindery. 

Notwithstanding the charming simplicity of 
her nature, Winifred would not be a woman if 
she did not know she was good-looking. The 
stage offered a career ; work in the factory only 
yielded existence. Eecent events had added a 
certain strength of character to her sweet face ; 
and Miss Goodman, who happened to be an 
expert dressmaker, had used the girl's leisure 
in her lodgings to turn her nimble ringers to 
account. Hence, Winifred was dressed with 
neat elegance, and the touch of winter keen- 
ness in the air gave her a splendid color as she 
hurried out of the station many minutes late 
for her appointment. 

Would she be asked to sing, she wondered? 
She had no music with her, and had never 
touched a piano since her music-master's anx- 
iety to train her voice had been so suddenly 
frustrated by Rachel Craik. But she knew 
many of the solos from "Faust," "Rigoletto," 
and "Carmen"; surely, among musical people, 
there would be some appreciation of her skill 
if tested by this class of composition, as com- 
pared with the latest rag-time melody or gush- 
ing cabaret ballad. 



IN THE TOILS 227 

Busy with such thoughts, she hastened along 
the road, until she awoke with a start to the 
knowledge that she was opposite Gateway 
House. Certainly the retreat was admirable 
from the point of view of a man surfeited with 
life on the Great White Way. Indeed, it looked 
very like a private lunatic asylum or home for 
inebriates, with its lofty walls studded with 
broken glass, and its solid gate crowned with 
iron spikes. 

Winifred tried the door. It opened readily. 
She was surprised that so pretentious an abode 
had no lodge-keeper's cottage. There were 
signs of few vehicles passing over the weed- 
grown gravel drive, and such marks as existed 
were quite recent. 

She was so late, however, that her confused 
mind did not trouble about these things, and 
she sped on gracefully, soon coming in full 
view of the house itself, it was now almost 
dark, and the grounds seemed very lonely ; but 
the presence of lights in the secluded mansion 
gave earnest of some one awaiting her there. 
She fancied she heard a noise, like the snap- 
ping of a latch or lock behind her. She turned 
her head, but saw no one. Fowle, hiding among 
the evergreens, had run with nimble feet and 
sardonic smile to bolt the gate as soon as she 
was out of sight. 

And now Winifred was at the front door, 



228 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

timidly pulling a bell. A man strolled with a 
marked limp around the house from a conser- 
vatory. He was a tall, strongly built person, 
and something in the dimly seen outline sent a 
thrill of apprehension through her. 

But the door opened. 

"I have come " she began. 

The words died away in sheer affright. Glow- 
ering at her, with a queer look of gratified 
menace, was Rachel Craik! 

"So I see," was the grim retort. "Come in, 
Winnie, by all means. Where have you been 
all these weeks?" 

"There is some mistake," she faltered, white 
with sudden terror and nameless suspicions. 
"My agent told me to come here " 

"Quite right. Be quick, or you'll miss the 
last train home," growled the voice of Voles 
behind her. 

Roughly, though not violently, he pushed her 
inside, and the door closed. 

He snapped at Rachel: "She'd be yelling for 
help in another second, and you never know 
who may be passing." 

Now, Winifred was not of the order of women 
who faint in the presence of danger. Her love 
had given her a great strength; her suffering 
had deepened her fine nature; and her very soul 
rebelled against the cruel subterfuge which had 
been practised to separate her from her lover. 



/# THE TOILS 229 

She saw, with the magic intuition of her sex, 
that the very essence of a deep-laid plot was 
that Eex and she should be kept apart. 

The visit of Mrs. Carshaw, then, was only a 
part of the same determined scheme? Rex's 
mother had been a puppet in the hands of 
those who carried her to Connecticut, who 
strove so determinedly to take her away when 
Carshaw put in an appearance, and who had 
tricked her into keeping this bogus appoint- 
ment. She would defy them, face death itself 
rather than yield. 

In the America of to-day, nothing short of 
desperate crime could long keep her from 
Rex's arms. What a weak, silly, romantic 
girl she had been not to trust in him absolutely ! 
The knowledge nerved her to a fine scorn. 

"What right have you to treat me in this 
way?" she cried vehemently. "You have lied 
to me ; brought me here by a forged letter. Let 
me go instantly, and perhaps my just indigna- 
tion may not lead me to tell my agent how you 
have dared to use his name with false pre- 
tense." 

"Ho, ho!" sang out Voles. "The little bird 
pipes an angry note. Be pacified, my sweet 
linnet. You were getting into bad company. 
It was the duty of your relatives to rescue 



you." 



'My relatives! Who are they who claim 



230 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

kinship? I see here one who posed as my aunt 
for many years " 

"Posed, Winnie?" 

Miss Craik affected a croak of regretful pro- 
test. 

Winifred's eyes shot lightnings. 

"Yes. I am sure you are not my aunt. Many 
things I can recall prove it to me. Wliy do you 
never mention my father and mother? What 
wrong have I done to any living soul that, ever 
since you were mixed up in the attack on Mr. 
Ronald Tower, you should deal with me as if 
I were a criminal or a lunatic, and seek to part 
me from those who would befriend me?" 

"Hush, little girl," interposed Voles, with 
mock severity. "You don't know what you're 
saying. You are hurting your dear aunt's feel- 
ings. She is your aunt. I ought to know, con- 
sidering that you are my daughter!" 

"Your daughter!" 

Now, indeed, she felt ready to dare dragons. 
This coarse, brutal giant of a man her father ! 
Her gorge rose at the suggestion. Almost 
fiercely she resolved to hold her own against 
these persecutors who scrupled not to use 
any lying device that would suit their pur- 
pose. 

"Yes," he cried truculently. "Don't I come 
up to your expectations?" 

"If you are my father," she said, with a 



IN THE TOILS 231 

strange self-possession that came to her aid in 
this trying moment, "where is my mother ?" 

"Sorry to say she died long since." 

"Did you murder her as you tried to murder 
Mr. Tower?" 

The chance shot went home, though it hit her 
callous hearer in a way she could not then ap- 
preciate. He swore violently. 

"You're my daughter, I tell you," he vocif- 
erated, "and the first thing you have to learn 
is obedience. Your head has been turned, young 
lady, by your pretty Rex and his nice ways. 
I'll have to teach you not to address me in that 
fashion. Take her to her room, Rachel." 

Driven to frenzy by a dreadful and wholly 
unexpected predicament, Winifred cast off the 
hand her "aunt" laid on her shoulder. 

"Let me go!" she screamed. "I will not ac- 
company you. I do not believe a word you say. 
If you touch me, I shall defend myself." 

"Spit-fire, eh?" she heard Voles say. There 
was something of a struggle. She never knew 
exactly what happened. She found herself 
clasped in his giant arms and heard his half 
jesting protest: 

"Now, my butterfly, don't beat your little 
wings so furiously, or you'll hurt yourself." 

He carried her, screaming, up-stairs, and 
pushed her into a large room. Rachel Craik 
followed, with set face and angry words. 



232 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Ungrateful girl!" was her cry. " After all 
I've done for you!" 

"You stole me from my mother," sobbed 
Winifred despairingly. "I am sure you did. 
You are afraid now lest some one should rec- 
ognize me. I am 'the image of my mother' 
that horrible man said, and I am to be taken 
away because I resemble her. It is you who 
are frightened, not I. I defy you. Even Mrs. 
Carshaw knew my face. I scorn you, I say, and 
if you think your devices can deceive me or 
keep Rex from me, you are mistaken. Before 
it is too late, let me go!" 

Rachel Craik was, indeed, alarmed by the 
girl's hysterical outpouring. But Winifred's 
taunts worked harm in one way. They revealed 
most surely that the danger dreaded by both 
Voles and Meiklejohn did truly exist. From 
that instant Rachel Craik, who felt beneath her 
rough exterior some real tenderness for the girl 
she had reared, became her implacable foe. 

"You had better calm yourself," she said 
quietly. "If you care to eat, food will soon be 
brought for you and Mr. Grey. He is your 
fellow-boarder for a few days ! ' ' 

Then Winifred saw, for the first time, that 
the spacious room held another occupant. Re- 
clining in a big chair, and scowling at her, was 
Mick the Wolf, whose arm Carshaw had broken 
recently. 



IN THE TOILS 233 

"Yes," growled that worthy, "I'm not the 
most cheerful company, missy, but my other 
arm is strong enough to put that fellow of yours 
out o' gear if he butts in on me ag'in. So just 
cool your pretty HI head, will you? I'm boss 
here, and if you rile me it'll be sort o' awkward 
for you." 

How Winifred passed the next few hours she 
could scarcely remember afterward. She noted, 
in dull agony, that the windows of the sitting- 
room she shared with Mick the Wolf were 
barred with iron. So, too, was the window of 
her bedroom. The key and handle of the bed- 
room lock had been taken away. Rachel Craik 
was her jailer, a maimed scoundrel her compan- 
ion and assistant-warder. 

But, when the first paroxysms of helpless 
pain and rage had passed, her faith returned. 
She prayed long and earnestly, and help was 
vouchsafed. Appeal to her captors was vain, 
she knew, so she sought the consolation that is 
never denied to all who are afflicted. 

Neither Rachel Craik, nor the sullen bandit, 
nor the loud-voiced rascal who had dared to say 
he was her father, could understand the cheer- 
ful patience with which she met them next 
day. 

"She's a puzzle," said Voles in the privacy 
of the apartment beneath. "I must dope out 
some way of fixin' things. She'll never come 



234 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

to heel again, Rachel. That fool Carshaw has 
turned her head." 

He tramped to and fro impatiently. His 
ankle had not yet forgotten the wrench it re- 
ceived on the Boston Post Road. Suddenly he 
banged a huge fist on a sideboard. 

"Gee!" he cried, "that should turn the trick! 
1*11 marry her off to Fowle. If it wasn't for 
other considerations I'd be almost tempted 

He paused. Even his fierce spirit quailed at 
the venom that gleamed from Rachel Craik's 
eyes. 



CHAPTER XXI 

MOTHER AND SON 

A TELEGRAM reached Carshaw before he left 
Burlington with Clancy. He hoped it contained 
news of Winifred, but it was of a nature that 
imposed one more difficulty in his path. 

"Not later than the twentieth," wired the 
manager of the Carshaw Mills in Massachu- 
setts. -Carshaw himself had inquired the latest 
date on which he would be expected to start 
work. 

The offer was his own, and he could not in 
honor begin the new era by breaking his pledge. 
The day was Saturday, November 11. On the 
following Monday week he must begin to learn 
the rudiments of cotton-spinning. 

"What's up?" demanded Clancy, eying the 
telegram, for Carshaw 's face had hardened at 
the thought that, perhaps, in the limited time at 
his disposal his quest might fail. He passed 
the typed slip to the detective. 

"Meaning?" said the latter, after a quick 
glance. 

Carshaw explained. "I'll find her," he 
added, with a catch of the breath. "I must 

236 



236 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

find her. God in Heaven, man, I'll go mad if I 
don't!" 

''Cut out the stage stuff," said Clancy. "By 
this day week the Bureau will find a bunch of 
girls who 're not lost yet only planning it." 

Touched by the misery in Carshaw's eyes, he 
added : 

"What you really want is a marriage license. 
The minute you set eyes on Winifred rush her 
to the City Hall." 

"Once we meet we'll not part again," came 
the earnest vow. Somehow, the pert little 
man's overweening egotism was soothing, and 
Carshaw allowed his mind to dwell on the hap- 
piness of holding Winifred in his arms once 
more rather than the uncertain prospect of at- 
taining such bliss. 

Indeed, he was almost surprised by the ardor 
of his love for her. When he could see her each 
day, and amuse himself by playing at the pre- 
tense that she was to earn her own living, there 
was a definite satisfaction in the thought that 
soon they would be married, when all this pleas- 
ant make-believe would vanish. But now that 
she was lost to him, and probably enduring no 
common misery, the complacency of life had 
suddenly given place to a fierce longing for a 
glimpse of her, for the sound of her voice, for 
the shy glance of her beautiful eyes. 

"Now, let's play ball," said Clancy when 



MOTHER AND SON 237 

they were in a train speeding south. "Has any 
complete search of Winifred's rooms been 
made?'* 

"How do you mean?" 

"Did you look in every hole and corner for 
a torn envelope, a twisted scrap of paper, a car 
transfer, any mortal thing that might reveal 
why she went out and did not return!" 

"I told you of the bookbinder's note " 

"You sure did," broke in Clancy. "You also 
went to the bookbinder s'teen times. Are you 
certain there was nothing else?" 

"No I didn't like how could I peer and 
pry" 

"You'd make a bum detective. Imagine that 
poor girl crying her eyes out in a cold dark cell 
all because you were too squeamish to give her 
belongings the once over!" 

Carshaw was not misled by Clancy's manner. 
He knew that his friend was only consumed by 
impatience to be on the trail. 

"You've fired plenty of questions at me," he 
said quietly. "Now it's my turn. I understand 
why you came to Burlington, but where is Stein- 
gall all this time?" 

1 ' That big stiff ! How do I know ! ' ' 

In a word, Clancy was uncommunicative dur- 
ing a whole hour. When the mood passed he 
spoke of other things, but, although it was ten 
at night when they reached New York, he raced 



238 

Carshaw straight to East Twenty-Seventh' 
Street and Miss Goodman. 

There, in a few seconds, he was reading the 
agent's genuine note to Winifred that con- 
taining the assurance that no appointment had 
been made for "East Orange." 

The letter concluded: 

" At first I assumed that a message intended for some 
other correspondent had been sent, to me by error. Now, on 
reperusal, I am almost convinced that you wrote me under 
some misapprehension. Will you kindly explain how it arose ? " 

Clancy, great as ever on such occasions, re- 
frained from saying: "I told you so." 

"We'll call up the agent Monday, just for 
the sake of thoroughness," he said. "Mean- 
while, be ready to come with me to East Orange 
to-morrow at 8 A.M." 

"Why not to-night?" urged Carshaw, afire 
with a rage to be up and doing. 

"What? To sleep there? Young man, you 
don't know East Orange. Eun away home to 
your ma!" 

"Where have you been?" inquired Mrs. Car- 
shaw when her son entered. Her air was sub- 
dued. She had suffered a good deal these later 
days. 

"To Vermont." 

"Still pursuing that girl?" 

"Yes, mother." 



MOTHER AND SOW "239 

"Have you found her?" 

"No, mother." 

"Rex, have you driven me wholly from your 
heart?" 

"No; that would be impossible. Winifred 
would not wish it, callous as you were to her." 

"Do not be too hard on me. I am sore 
wounded. It is a great deal for a woman to be 
cast into the outer darkness." 

"Nonsense, mother, you are emerging into 
light. If your friends are so ready to drop you 
because you are poor with the exceeding pov- 
erty of twenty-five hundred a year of what 
value were they as friends? When you know 
Winifred you will be glad. You will feel as 
Dante felt when he emerged from the Inferno." 

"So you are determined to marry her?" 

"Unquestionably. And mark you, mother, 
when the clouds pass, and we are rich again, 
you will be proud of your daughter-in-law. She 
will bear all your skill in dressing. Gad! how 
the women of your set will envy her complex- 
ion." 

Mrs. Carshaw smiled wanly at that. She 
knew her "set," as Bex termed the Four Hun- 
dred. 

"Why is she called Bartlett?" she inquired 
after a pause, and Rex looked at her in sur- 
prise. "I have a reason," she continued. "Is 
that her real name?" 



240 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Now," he cried, "I admit you are showing 
some of your wonted cleverness." 

"Ah! Then I am right. I have been think- 
ing. Cessation from society duties is at least 
restful. Last night, lying awake and wonder- 
ing where you were, my thoughts reverted to 
that girl. I remembered her face. All at once 
a long-forgotten chord of memory hummed its 
note. Twenty years ago, when you were a little 
boy, Rex, I met a Mrs. Marchbanks. She was 
a sweet singer. Does your Winifred sing?" 

Carshaw drew his chair closer to his mother 
and placed an arm around her shoulder. 

"Yes," he said. 

"Bex," she murmured brokenly, hiding her 
face, "do you forgive me?" 

"Mother, I ask you to forgive me if I said 
harsh things." 

There was silence for a while. Then she 
raised her eyes. They were wet, but smiling. 

"This Mrs. Marchbanks," she went on 
bravely, "had your Winifred's face. She was 
wealthy and altogether charming. Her hus- 
band, too, was a gentleman. She was a ward of 
the elder Meiklejohn, the present Senator's 
father. My recollection of events is vague, but 
there was some scandal in Burlington." 

"I know all, or nearly all, about it. That is 
why I was called to Vermont. Mother, in fu- 
ture, you will work with me, not against me?" 



MOTHER AND SON 241 

"I will indeed I will," she sobbed. 

"Then you must not drop your car. I have 
money to pay for that. Keep in with Helen 
Tower, and find out what hold she has on Meik- 
lejohn. You are good at that, you know. You 
understand your quarry. You will be worth 
twenty detectives. First, discover where Meik- 
lejohn is. He has bolted, or shut himself 
up." 

"You must trust me fully, or I shall not see 
the pitfalls. Tell me everything." 

He obeyed. Before he had ended, Mrs. Car- 
shaw was weeping again, but this time it was 
out of sympathy with Winifred. Next morn- 
ing, although it was Sunday, her smart limou- 
sine took her to the Tower's house. Mrs. 
Tower was at home. 

"I have heard dreadful things about you, 
Sarah," she purred. "What on earth is the 
matter? Why have you given up your place 
on Long Island?" 

"A whim of Rex's, my dear. He is still in- 
fatuated over that girl." 

"She must have played her cards well." 

"Yes, indeed. One does not look for such 
skill in the lower orders. And how she de- 
ceived me! I went to see her, and she prom- 
ised better behavior. Now I find she has gone 
again, and Rex will not tell me where she is. 
po you knowj" 



242 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"If The creature never enters my mind." 

"Of course not. She does not interest you, 
but I am the boy's mother, and you cannot im- 
agine, Helen, how this affair worries me." 

"My poor Sarah! It is too bad." 

"Such a misfortune could not have happened 
had his father lived. We women are of no use 
where a headstrong man is concerned. I am 
thinking of consulting Senator Meiklejohn. He 
is discreet and experienced." 

"But he is not in town." 

"What a calamity! Do tell me where I can 
find him." 

"I have reason to know that Rex would not 
brook any interference from him." 

"Oh, no, of course not. It would never do to 
permit his influence to appear. I was thinking 
that the Senator might act with the girl, this 
wonderful Winifred. He might frighten her, 
or bribe her, or something of the sort." 

Now, Helen Tower was not in Meiklejohn 's 
confidence. He was compelled to trust her in 
the matter of the Costa Rica concession, but 
he was far too wise to let her into any secret 
where Winifred was concerned. Anxious to 
stab with another's hand, she thought that Mrs. 
Carshaw might be used to punish her wayward 
son. 

"I'm not sure " She paused doubtfully. 
"I do happen to know Mr. Meikle John's where- 



MOTHER AND SON 243 

abouts, but it is most important he should not 
be troubled." 

" Helen, you used to like Rex more than a 
little. With an effort, I can save him still." 

"But he may suspect you, have you watched, 
your movements tracked." 

Mrs. Carshaw laughed. "My dear, he is far 
too much taken up with his Winifred." 

"Has he found her, then?" 

"Does he not see her daily?" 

Here were cross purposes. Mrs. Tower was 
puzzled. 

"If I tell you where the Senator is, you are 
sure Rex will not follow you?" 

"Quite certain." 

"His address is the Marlborough-Blenheim, 
Atlantic City." 

"Helen, you're a dear! I shall go there to- 
morrow, if necessary. But it will be best to 
write him first. ' ' 

"Don't say I told you." 

"Above all things, Helen, I am discreet." 

"I fear he cannot do much. Your son is 
so wilful." 

"Don't you understand? Rex is quite un- 
manageable. I depend wholly on the girl and 
Senator Meiklejohn is just the man to deal with 
her." 

They kissed farewell alas, those Judas 
kisses of women I Both were satisfied* each be* 



244 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

lieving she had hoodwinked the other. Mrs. 
Carshaw returned to her flat to await her son's 
arrival. If the trail at East Orange proved 
difficult he promised to be home for dinner. 

"There will be a row if Rex meets Meikle- 
john," she communed. "Helen will be furious 
with me. What do I care? I have won back 
my son's love. I have not many years to live. 
What else have I to work for if not for his 
happiness?" 

So one woman in New York that night was 
fairly well content. There may be, as the 
Chinese proverb has it, thirty-six different 
kinds of mothers-in-law, but there is only one 
mother. 



CHAPTER XXII 



THE HUNT 

STEINGALL, not Clancy, presented his bulk at 
Carsliaw's apartment next morning. He con- 
trived to have a few minutes' private talk with 
Mrs. Carshaw while her son was dressing. 
Early as it was, he lighted a second cigar as he 
stepped into the automobile, for Carshaw 
thought it an economy to retain a car. 

''Surprised to see me?" he began. "Well, 
it's this way. We may drop in for a rough- 
house to-day. Between them, Voles and *Mlck 
the Wolf,' own three sound legs and three 
strong arms. I can't risk Clancy. He's too 
precious. He kicked like a mule, of course, but 
I made it an order." 

"What of the local police?" said Carhsaw. 

"Nix on the cops," laughed the chief. "You 
share the popular delusion that a policeman can 
arrest any one at sight. He can do nothing of 
the sort, unless he and his superior officers care 
to face a whacking demand for damages. And 
what charge can we bring against Voles and 
company? Winifred bolted of her own accord. 
We must tread lightly, Mr. Carshaw. Really, 

245 



246 TEE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

I shouldn't be here at all. I came only to help, 
to put you on the right trail, to see that Wini- 
fred is not detained by force if she wishes to 
accompany you. Do you get me?" 

"I believe there is good authority for the 
statement that the law is an ass," grumbled 
the other. 

"Not the law. Personal liberty has to be 
safeguarded by the law. Millions of men have 
died to uphold that principle. Remember, too, 
that I may have to explain in court why I did 
so-and-so. Strange as it may sound, I've been 
taught wisdom by legal adversity. Now, let's 
talk of the business in hand. It's an odd thing, 
but people who wish to do evil deeds often 
select secluded country places to live in. I 
don't mind betting a box of cigars that 'East 
Orange' means a quiet, old-fashioned locality 
where there isn't a crime once in a genera- 
tion." 

"Some spot one would never suspect, eh?" 

"Yes, in a sense. But if ever I set up as 
a crook which is unlikely, as my pension is 
due in eighteen months I'll live in a Broad- 
way flat." 

"I thought the city police kept a very close 
eye on evil-doers." 

"Yes, when we know them. But your real 
expert is not known; once held he's done for. 
Of course he tries again, but he is a marked 



THE HUNT 247 

man he has lost his confidence. Nevertheless, 
he will always try to be with the crowd. There 
is safety in numbers." 

"Do you mean that East Orange is a place 
favorable to our search?" 

"Of course it is. The police, the letter- 
carriers, and the storekeepers, know everybody. 
They can tell us at once of several hundred 
people who certainly had nothing to do with 
the abduction of a young lady. There will re- 
main a few dozens who might possibly be con- 
cerned in such an affair. Inquiry will soon 
whittle -them down to three or four individuals. 
What a different job it would be if we had to 
search a New York precinct, which, I take it, 
is about as populous as East Orange." 

This was a new point of view to Carshaw, and 
it cheered him proportionately. He stepped on 
the gas, and a traffic policeman at Forty-Second 
Street and Seventh Avenue cocked an eye at 
him. 

"Steady," laughed Steingall. "It would be 
a sad blow for mother if we were held for 
furious driving. These blessed machines jump 
from twelve to forty miles an hour before you 
can wink twice." 

Carshaw abated his ardor. Nevertheless, 
they were in East Orange forty minutes after 
crossing the ferry. 

Unhappily, from that hour, the pace slack- 



248 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

ened. Gateway House had been rented from a 
New York agent for "Mr. and Mrs. Forest,'* 
Westerners who wished to reside in New Jer- 
sey a year or so. 

Its occupants had driven thither from New 
York. Eachel Craik, heavily veiled and quietly 
attired, did her shopping in the nearest suburb, 
and had choice of more than one line of rail. 
So East Orange knew them not, nor had it even 
seen them. 

In nowise discouraged, the man from the 
Bureau set about his inquiry methodically. He 
interviewed policemen, railway officials, post- 
men, and cabmen. Although the day was Sun- 
day, he tracked men to their homes and led 
them to talk. Empty houses, recently let 
houses, houses tenanted by people who were 
"not particular" as to their means of getting 
a living, divided his attention with persons who 
answered to the description of Voles, Fowle, 
Rachel, or even the broken-armed Mick the 
Wolf ; while he plied every man with a minutely 
accurate picture of Winifred. 

Hither and thither darted the motor till East 
Orange was scoured and noted, and among 
twenty habitations jotted in the detective's note- 
book the name of Gateway House figured. It 
was slow work, this task of elimination, but 
they persisted, meeting rebuff after rebuff, es- 



THE HUNT 249 

pecially in the one or two instances where a 
couple of sharp-looking strangers in a car were 
distinctly not welcome. They had luncheon at 
a local hotel, and, by idle chance, were not 
pleased by the way in which the meal was 
served. 

So, when hungry again, and perhaps a trifle 
dispirited as the day waned to darkness with no 
result, they went to another inn to procure a 
meal. This time they were better looked after. 
Instead of a jaded German waiter they were 
served by the landlord's daughter, a neat, be- 
frilled young damsel, who cheered them by her 
smile ; though, to be candid, she was anxious to 
get out for a walk with her young man. 

4 'Have you traveled far!" she asked, by way 
of talk while laying the table. 

"From New York," said Steingall. 

"At this hour in a carl" 

"Yes. Is that a remarkable thing here?" 

"Not the car; but people in motors either 
whizz through of a morning going away down 
the coast, or whizz back again of an evening 
returning to New York." 

"Ah!" put in Carshaw, "here is a pretty 
head which holds brains. It goes in for ratio- 
cinative reasoning. Now, I'll be bound to say 
that this pretty head, which thinks, can help 
us." 



250 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

A good deal of this was lost on the girl, but 
she caught the compliment and smiled. 

"It all depends on what you want to know," 
she said. 

"I really want to find a private prison of 
some sort," he said. "The sort of place where 
a nice-looking young lady like you might be 
kept in against her will by nasty, ill-disposed 
people." 

"There is only one house of that kind in the 
town, and that is out of it, as an Irishman 
might say." 

"And where is it?" 

"It's called Gateway House about a mile 
along the road from the depot." 

Steingall, inclined at first to doubt the ex- 
pediency of gossip with the girl, now pricked 
up his ears. 

"Who lives in Gateway House?" he asked. 

"No one that I know of at the moment," she 
answered. "It used to belong to a mad doc- 
tor. I don't mean a doctor who was mad, 
but " 

"No matter about his sanity. Is he dead?" 

"No, in prison. There was a trial two years 
ago." 

"Oh! I remember the affair. A patient was 
beaten to death. So the house is empty!" 

"It is, unless some one has rented it recently. 
I was taken through the place months ago. The 



THE HUNT 251 

rooms are all right, and it has beautiful 
grounds, but the windows frightened me. They 
were closely barred with iron, and the doors 
were covered with locks and chains. There 
were some old beds there, too, with straps on 
them. Oh, I quite shivered!" 

''After we have eaten will you let us drive 
you in that direction in my car?" said Car- 
shaw. 

She simpered and blushed slightly. "I've 
an appointment with a friend," she admitted, 
wondering whether the swain would protest too 
strongly if she accepted the invitation. 

1 ' Bring him also, ' ' said Carshaw. ' ' I assume 
it's a 'he.' " 

"Oh, that'll be all right!" she cried. 

So in the deepening gloom the automobile 
flared with fierce eyes along the quiet road to 
Gateway House, and in its seat of honor sat 
the hotel maid and her voung man. 

"That is the place," she said, after the, to 
her, all too brief run. 

"Is this the only entrance?" demanded the 
chief, as he stepped out to try the gate. 

"Yes. The high wall runs right round the 
property. It's quite a big place." 

' ' Locked ! " he announced. ' * Probably empty, 
too." 

He tried squinting through the keyhole to 
catch a gleam of interior light. 



252 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY., 

"No use in doin' that," announced the young 
man. "The house stands way back, an' is hid- 
den by trees." 

"I mean having a look at it, wall or no wall," 
insisted Carshaw. 

"But the gate is spiked and the wall covered 
with broken glass," said the girl. 

"Such obstacles can be surmounted by lad- 
ders and folded tarpaulins, or even thick over- 
coats," observed Steingall. 

"I'm a plumber," said the East Orange man. 
"If you care to run back to my place, I c'n 
give you a telescope ladder and a tarpaulin. 
But perhaps we may butt into trouble?" 

"For shame, Jim! I thought you'd do a 
little thing like that to help a girl in distress." 

"First I've heard of any girl." 

"My name is Carshaw," came the prompt as- 
surance. "Here's my card; read it by the lamp 
there. I'll guarantee you against consequences, 
pay any damages, and reward you if our search 
yields results." 

"Jim " commenced the girl reproachfully, 
but he stayed her with a squeeze. 

"Cut it out, Polly," he said. "You don't 
wish me to start housebreaking, do you? But if 
there's a lady to be helped, an' Mr. Carshaw 
says it's O.K., I'm on. A fellow who was with 
Funston in the Philippines won't sidestep a 
little job of that sort." 



THE HUNT 253 

Polly, appeased and delighted with the ad- 
venture, giggled. "I'd think not, indeed." 

"It is lawbreaking, but I am inclined to back 
you up," confided Steingall to Carshaw when 
the car was humming back to East Orange. 
"At the worst you can only be charged with 
trespass, as my evidence will be taken that you 
had no unlawful intent." 

"Won't you come with me?" 

"Better not. You see, I am only helping you. 
You have an excuse ; I, as an official, have none 
if a row springs up and doors have to be 
kicked open, for instance. Moreover, this is the 
State of New Jersey and outside my baili- 
wick. ' ' 

"Perhaps the joker behind us may be use- 
ful." 

"He will be, or his girl will know the reason 
why. He may have fought in every battle in 
the Spanish War, but she has more pep in 
her." 

The soldierly plumber was as good as his 
word. He produced the ladder and the tar- 
paulin, and a steel wrench as well. 

"If you do a thing at all do it thor- 
oughly. That's what Funston taught us," he 
grinned. 

Carshaw thanked him, and in a few minutes 
they were again looking at the tall gate and the 
dark masses of the garden trees silhouetted 



against the sky. They had not encountered 
many wayfarers during their three journeys. 
The presence of a car at the entrance to such 
a pretentious place would not attract attention, 
and the scaling of the wall was only a matter 
of half a minute. 

"No use in raising the dust by knocking. Go 
over," counseled Steingall. "Try to open the 
gate. Then you can return' the ladder and tar- 
paulin at once. Otherwise, leave them in posi- 
tion. If satisfied that the house is inhabited 
by those with whom you have no concern, come 
away unnoticed, if possible." 

Carshaw climbed the ladder, sat on the tar- 
paulin, and dropped the ladder on the inner side 
of the wall. They heard him shaking the gate. 
His head reappeared over the wall. 

"Locked," he said, "and the key gone. I'll 
come back and report quickly. ' ' 

Jim, who had been nudged earnestly several 
times by his companion, cried quickly: 

"Isn't your friend goin' along, too, mister?" 

"No. I may as well tell you that I am a 
detective," put in Steingall. 

"Gee whizz! Why didn't you cough it up 
earlier? Hoi' on, there! Lower that ladder. 
I'm with you." 

"Good old U. S. Army!" said Steingall, and 
Polly glowed with pride. 

Jim climbed rapidly to Carshaw 's side, the 



THE HUNT 255 

latter being astride the wall. Then they van- 
ished. 

For a long time the two in the car listened 
intently. A couple of cyclists passed, and a 
small boy, prowling about, took an interest in 
the car, but was sternly warned off by Stein- 
gall. At last they caught the faint but easily 
discerned sound of heavy blows and broken 
woodwork. 

" Things are happening," cried Steingall. 
"I wish I had gone with them." 

"Ohj I hope my Jim won't get hurt," said 
Polly, somewhat pale now. 

They heard more furious blows and the 
crash of glass. 

" Confound it!" growled Steingall. "Why 
didn't I go?" 

"If I stood on the back of the car against 
the gate, and you climbed onto my shoulders, 
you might manage to stand between the spikes 
and jump down," cried Polly desperately. 

"Great Scott, but you're the right sort of 
girl. The wall is too high, but the gate is pos- 
sible. I'll try it," he answered. 

With difficulty, having only slight knowledge 
of heavy cars, he backed the machine against 
the gate. Then the girl caught the top with 
her hands, standing on the back cushions. 

Steingall was no light weight for her soft 
shoulders, but she uttered no word until she 



256 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

heard him drop heavily on the gravel drive 
within. 

''Thank goodness!" she whispered. "There 
are three of them now. I only wish I was there, 
too!" 



CHAPTER XXHI 

"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS AWAY " 

"I DON'T like the proposition, an' that's a 
fact, ' ' muttered Fowle, lifting a glass of whisky 
and glancing furtively at Voles, when the dom- 
ineering eyes of the superior scoundrel were 
averted for a moment. 

" Whether you like it or not, you've got to 
lump it," was the ready answer. 

"I don't see that. I agreed to help you up 
to a certain point " 

Voles swung around at him furiously, as a 
mastiff might turn on a wretched mongrel. 

"Say, listen! If I'm up to the neck in this 
business, you're in it over your ears. You 
can't duck now, you white-livered cur! The 
cops know you. They had you in their hands 
once, and warned you to leave this girl alone. 
If I stand in the dock you'll stand there, too, 
and I'm not the man to say the word that'll 
save you." 

"But she's with her aunt. She's under age. 
Her aunt is her legal guardian. I know a bit 
about the law, you see. This notion of yours 

257 



258 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

is a bird of another color. Sham weddings are 
no joke. It will mean ten years." 

' * Who wants you to go in for a sham wedding, 
you swab?" 

"You do, or I haven't got the hang of 
things. ' ' 

Voles looked as though he would like to 
hammer his argument into Fowle with his fists. 
He forebore. There was too much at stake to 
allow a sudden access of bad temper to defeat 
his ends. 

He was tired of vagabondage. It was true, 
as he told his brother long before, that he hun- 
gered for the flesh-pots of Egypt, for the life 
and ease and gayety of New York. An unex- 
pected vista had opened up before him. When 
he came back to the East his intention was to 
squeeze funds out of Meiklejohn wherewith to 
plunge again into the outer wilderness. Now 
events had conspired to give him some chance 
of earning a fortune quickly, had not the irony 
of fate raised the winsome face and figure of 
Winifred as a bogey from the grave to bar his 
path. 

So he choked back his wrath, and shoved the 
decanter of spirits across the table to his mo- 
rose companion. They were sitting in the hall 
of Gateway House, about the hour that Car- 
shaw and the detective, tired by their weary 
hunt through East Orange, sought the inn. 



"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 259 

"Now look here, Fowle," he said, "don't 
be a poor dub, and don't kick at my way of 
speaking. For Dios! man, I've lived too long 
in the sage country to scrape my tongue to a 
smooth spiel like my my friend, the Senator. 
Let's look squarely at the facts. You admire 
the girl?" 

"Who wouldn't? A pippin, every inch of 
her." 

"You're broke?" 

"Well er " 

"You were fired from your last job. You're 
in wrong with the police. You adopted a dis- 
guise and told lies about Winifred to those who 
would employ her. What chance have you of 
getting back into your trade, even if you'd be 
satisfied with it after having lived like a plute 
for weeks?" 

"That goes," said Fowle, waving his pipe. 

"You'd like to hand one to that fellow Car- 
shaw?" 

"Wouldn't I!" 

"Yet you kick like a steer when I offer you 
the girl, a soft, well-paid job, and the worst 
revenge you can take on Carshaw." 

"Yes, all damn fine. But the risk the in- 
fernal risk ! ' ' 

"That's where I don't agree with you. You 
go away with her and her father " 

"Father! You're not her father!" 



260 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"You should be the first to believe it. Her 
aunt will swear it to you or to any judge in the 
country. Once out of the United States, she 
will be only too glad to avail herself of the 
protection matrimony is supposed to offer. 
What are you afraid of!" 

"You talked of puttin' up some guy to pre- 
tend to marry us. ' ' 

"Forget it. We can't keep her insensible or 
dumb for days. But, in the company of her 
loving father and her devoted husband, what 
can she do f Who will believe her f Depend on 
me to have the right sort of boys on the ship. 
They'll just grin at her. By the time she 
reaches Costa Eica she'll be howling for a mis- 
sionary to come aboard in order to satisfy her 
scruples. You can suggest it yourself." 

"I believe she'd die sooner." 

"What matter? You only lose a pretty wife. 
There's lots more of the same sort when your 
wad is thick enough. Why, man, it means a 
three-months' trip and a fortune for life, how- 
ever things turn out. You're tossing against 
luck with an eagle on both sides of the quarter." 

Fowle hesitated. The other suppressed a 
smile. He knew his man. 

"Don't decide in a minute," he said seriously. 
"But, once settled, there must be no shirking. 
Make up your mind either to go straight ahead 
by my orders or clear out to-night. I'll give 



"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 261 

you a ten-spot to begin life again. After that 
don't come near me." 

"I'll do it," said Fowle, and they shook 
hands on their compact. 

It was not in Winifred's nature to remain 
long in a state of active resentment with any 
human being. A prisoner, watched diligently 
during the day, locked into her room at night, 
she met Rachel Craik's grim espionage and 
Mick the Wolf's evil temper with an equable 
cheerfulness that exasperated the one while 
mollifying the other. 

She wondered greatly what they meant to do 
with her. It was impossible to believe that in 
the State of New Jersey, within a few miles of 
New York, they could keep her indefinitely in 
close confinement. She knew that her Rex 
would move heaven and earth to rescue her. 
She knew that the authorities, in the person of 
Mr. Steingall, would take up the hunt with un- 
wearying diligence, and she reasoned, acutely 
enough, that a plot which embraced in its scope 
so many different individuals could not long 
defy the efforts made to elucidate it. 

How thankful she was now that she had at 
last written and posted that long-deferred letter 
to the agent. Here, surely, was a clue to be 
followed she had quite forgotten, in the first 
whirlwind of her distress, the second letter 



262 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

which reached her in the Twenty-Seventh 
Street lodgings, but pinned her faith to the fact 
that her own note concerning the appointment 
"near East Orange" was in existence. 

Perhaps her sweetheart was already rushing 
over every road in the place and making ex- 
haustive inquiries about her. It was possible 
that he had passed Gateway House more than 
once. He might have seen amid the trees the 
tall chimneys of the very jail against whose 
iron bars her spirit wab fluttering in fearful 
hope. Oh, why was she not endowed with that 
power she had read of, whose fortunate posses- 
sors could leap time and space in their astral 
subconsciousness and make known their 
thoughts and wishes to those dear to them? 

She even smiled at the conceit that a true 
wireless telegraphy did exist between Carshaw 
and herself. Daily, nightly, she thought of him 
and he of her. But their alphabet was lacking; 
they could utter only the thrilling language of 
love, which is not bound by such earthly things 
as signs and symbols. 

Yet was she utterly confident, and her de- 
meanor rendered Rachel Craik more and more 
suspicious. Since the girl had scornfully dis- 
owned her kinship, the elder woman had not 
made further protest on that score. She frankly 
behaved as a wardress in a prison, and Wini- 
fred as frankly accepted the role of prisoner. 



"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 263 

There remained Mick the Wolf. Under the cir- 
cumstances, no doctor or professional nurse 
could be brought to attend his injured arm. 
The broken limb had of course been properly 
set after the accident, but it required skilled 
dressing daily, and this Winifred undertook. 
She had no real knowledge of the subject, but 
her willingness to help, joined to the instruc- 
tion given by the man himself, achieved her 
object. 

It was well-nigh impossible for this rough, 
callous rogue, brought in contact with such a 
girl for the first time in his life, to resist her 
influence. She did not know it, but gradually 
she was winning him to her side. He swore 
at her as the cause of his suffering, yet found 
himself regretting even the passive part he was 
taking in her imprisonment. 

On the very Sunday evening that Voles and 
Fowle were concocting their vile and myster- 
ious scheme, Mick the Wolf, their trusted as- 
sociate, partner of Voles in many a desperate 
enterprise in other lands, was sitting in an 
armchair up-stairs listening to Winifred read- 
ing from a book she had found in her bedroom. 
It was some simple story of love and adventure, 
and certainly its author had never dreamed that 
his exciting situations would be perused under 
conditions as dramatic as any pictured in the 
novel. 



264 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

1 'It's a queer thing," said the man after a 
pause, when Winifred stopped to light a lamp, 
''but nobody pipin' us just now 'ud think we 
was what we are." 

She laughed at the involved sentence. "I 
don't think you are half so bad as you think 
you are, Mr. Grey," she said softly. "For my 
part, I am happy in the belief that my friends 
will not desert me. ' ' 

"Lookut here," he said with gruff sym- 
pathy, "why don't you pull with your people 
instead of ag'in' 'em. I know what I'm talkin' 
about. This yer Voles but, steady! Mebbe 
I best shut up." 

Winifred's heart bounded. If this man would 
speak he might tell her something of great value 
to her lover and Mr. Steingall when they came 
to reckon up accounts with her persecutors. 

"Anything you tell me, Mr. Grey, shall not 
be repeated," she said. 

He glanced toward the door. She understood 
his thought. Eachel Craik was preparing their 
evening meal. She might enter the room at 
any moment, and it was not advisable that she 
should suspect them of amicable relations. As- 
suredly, up to that hour, Mick the Wolf's man- 
ner admitted of no doubt on the point. He had 
been intractable as the animal which supplied 
his oddly appropriate nickname. 

"It's this way," he went one in a lower tone. 



"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 265 

" Voles an' Meiklejohn are brothers born. 
Meiklejohn, bein' a Senator, an' well in with 
some of the top-notchers, has a cotton conces- 
sion in Costa Rica which means a pile of money. 
Voles is cute as a pet fox. He winded the 
turkey, an' has forced his brother to make him 
manager, with a whackin' salary and an inter- 
est. I'm in on the deal, too. Bless your little 
heart, you just stan' pat, an' you kin make a 
dress outer dollar bills." 

"But what have I to do with all this? Why 
cannot you settle your business without pursu- 
ing me?" was the mournful question, for Wini- 
fred never guessed how greatly the man's in- 
formation affected her. 

"I can't rightly say, but you're either with 
us or ag'in' us. If you're on our side it'll be 
a joy-ride. If you stick to that guy, Car- 
shaw " 

To their ears, as to the ears of those waiting 
in the car at the gate, came the sound of violent 
blows and the wrenching open of ihe door. In 
that large house in a room situated, too, on 
the side removed from the road they could not 
catch Carshaw's exulting cry after a peep 
through the window: 

"I have them! Voles and Fowle! There they 
are ! Now you, who fought with Funston, fight 
for a year's pay to be earned in a minute. 
Here! use this wrench. You understand it. 



266 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Use it on the head of any one who resists 
you. These scoundrels must be taken red- 
handed." 

Voles at the first alarm sprang to his feet 
and whipped out a revolver. He knew that a 
vigorous assault was being made on the stout 
door. Running to the blind of the nearest win- 
dow, he saw Carshaw pull out an iron bar by 
sheer strength and use it as a lever to pry open 
a sash. Tempted though he was to shoot, he 
dared not. There might be police outside. 
Murder would shatter his dreams of wealth 
and luxury. He must outwit his pursuers. 

Rachel Craik came running from the kitchen, 
alarmed by the sudden hubbub. 

"Fowle," he said to his amazed confederate, 
"stand them off for a minute or two. You, 
Rachel, can help. You know where to find me 
when the coast is clear. They cannot touch you. 
Remember that. They're breaking into this 
house without a warrant. Bluff hard, and they 
cannot even frame a charge against you if the 
girl is secured and she will be if you give me 
time. ' ' 

Trusting more to Rachel than to vacillating 
Fowle, he raced up-stairs, though his injured 
leg made rapid progress difficult. He ran into 
a room and grabbed a small bag which lay in 
readiness. Then he rushed toward the room in 
which Winifred and Mick the Wolf were listen- 



"HE WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS" 267 

ing with mixed feelings to the row which had 
sprung up beneath. 

He tried the door. It was locked. Rachel 
had the key in her pocket. A trifle of that 
nature did not deter a man like Voles. "With 
his shoulder he burst the lock, coming face to 
face with his partner in crime, who had grasped 
a poker in his serviceable hand. 

"Atta-boy!" he yelled. "Down-stairs, and 
floor 'em as they come. You've one sound arm. 
Go for 'em they can't lay a finger on you." 

Now, it was one thing to sympathize with a 
helpless and gentle girl, but another to resist 
the call of the wild. The dominant note in 
Mick the Wolf was brutality, and the fighting 
instinct conquered even his pain. With an oath 
he made his way to the hall, and it needed all 
of Steingall's great strength to overpower him, 
wounded though he was. 

It took Carshaw and Jim a couple of minutes 
to force their way in. There was a lively fight, 
in which the detective lent a hand. When Mick 
the Wolf was down, groaning and cursing be- 
cause his fractured arm was broken again ; when 
Fowle was held to the floor, with Rachel Craik, 
struggling and screaming, pinned beneath him 
by the valiant Jim, Carshaw sped to the first 
floor. 

Soon, after using hand-cuffs on the man and 
woman, and leaving Jim in charge of them and 



Mick the Wolf, Steingall joined him. But, 
search as they might, they could not find either 
Winifred or Voles. Almost beside himself with 
rage, Carshaw rushed back to the grim-visaged 
Kachel. 

1 'Where is she?" he cried. "What have you 
done with her? By Heaven, I'll kill you 

Her face lit up with a malignant joy. "A 
nice thing!" she screamed. "Respectable folk 
to be treated in this way ! What have we done, 
I'd like to know? Breaking into our house and 
assaulting us!" 

"No good talking to her," said the chief. 
"She's a deep one tough as they make 'em. 
Let's search the grounds." 



CHAPTER XXIV 

IK FULL CRY 

POLLY, the maid from the inn, waiting breath- 
lessly intent in the car outside the gate, listened 
for sounds which should guide her as to the 
progress of events within. 

Steingall left her standing on the uphol- 
stered back of the car, with her hands clutching 
the top of the gate. She did not descend im- 
mediately. In that position she could best hear 
approaching footsteps, as she could follow the 
running of the detective nearly all the way to 
the house. 

Great was her surprise, therefore, to find some 
one unlocking the gate without receiving any 
preliminary warning of his advent. She was 
just in time to spring back into the tonneau 
when one-half of the ponderous door swung 
open and a man appeared, carrying in his arms 
the seemingly lifeless body of a woman. 

It will be remembered that the lamps of the 
car spread their beams in the opposite direction. 
In the gloom, not only of the night but of the 
high wall and the trees, Polly could not distin- 
guish features. 



270 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

She thought, however, the man was a stran- 
ger. Naturally, as the rescuers had just gone 
toward the point whence the newcomer came, 
she believed that he had been directed to carry 
the young lady to the waiting car. Her quick 
sympathy was aroused. 

"The poor dear!" she cried. "Oh, don't tell 
me those horrid people have hurt her." 

Voles who had choked "Winifred into insen- 
sibility with a mixture of alcohol, chloroform, 
and ether a scientific anesthetic used by all 
surgeons, rapid in achieving its purpose and 
quite harmless in its effects was far more sur- 
prised than Polly. He never expected to be 
greeted in this way, but rather to be met by 
some helper of Carshaw's posed there, and he 
was prepared to fight or trick his adversary as 
occasion demanded. 

He had carried Winifred down a servants' 
stairs and made his way out of the house by a 
back door. The exit was unguarded. In this, 
as in many other country mansions, the drive 
followed a circuitous sweep, but a path through 
the trees led directly toward the gate. Hence, 
his passage had neither been observed from 
the hall nor overheard by Polly. 

It was in precisely such a situation as that 
which faced him now that Voles was really 
superb. He was an adroit man, with ready 
judgment and nerves of steel. 



IN FULL CRY 271 

"Not much hurt," he said quietly. "She has 
fainted from shock, I think." 

Though he spoke so glibly, his brain was on 
fire with question and answer. His eyes glow- 
ered at the car and its occupant, and swept the 
open road on either hand. 

To Polly's nostrils was wafted a strange 
odor, carrying reminiscences of so-called 
"painless" dentistry. Winifred, reviving in 
the open air when that hateful sponge was re- 
moved from mouth and nose, struggled spas- 
modically in the arms of her captor. Polly 
knew that women in a faint lie deathlike. That 
never-to-be-forgotten scent, too, caused a wave 
of alarm, of suspicion, to creep through her 
with each heart-beat. 

"Where are the others?" she said, leaning 
over, and striving to see Voles 's face. 

"Just behind," he answered. "Let me place 
Miss Bartlett in the car." 

That sounded reasonable. 

"Lift her in here, poor thing," said Polly, 
making way for the almost inanimate form. 

"No; on the front seat." 

"But why? This is the best place oh, help, 
-help!" 

For Voles, having* placed Winifred beside the 
steering-pillar, seized Polly and flung her head- 
long onto the grass beneath the wall. In the 
same instant he started the car with a quick 



272 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

turn of the wrist, for the engine had been 
stopped to avoid noise, and there was no time 
to experiment with self-starters. He jumped in, 
released the brakes, applied the first speed, 
and was away in the direction to New York. 
Polly, angry and frightened, ran after him, 
screaming at the top of her voice. 

Voles was in such a desperate hurry that he 
did not pay heed to his steering, and nearly 
ran over a motor-cyclist coming in hot haste 
to East Orange. The rider, a young man, 
pulled up and used language. He heard 
Polly, panting and shrieking, running toward 
him. 

"Good gracious, Miss Barnard, what's the 
matter?" he cried, for Polly was pretty enough 
to hold many an eye. 

"Is that you, Mr. Petch? Thank goodness! 
There's been murder done in Gateway House. 
That villain is carrying off the young lady he 
has killed. He has escaped from the police. 
They're in there now. Oh, catch him!" 

Mr. Petch, who had dismounted, began to 
hop back New York-ward, while the engine em- 
ulated a machine-gun. 

"It's a big car goes fast I'll do my best- 
Polly heard him say, and he, too, was gone. 
She met Carshaw and the chief half-way up 
the drive. To them, in gasps, she told her 
story. 



IN FULL CRY 273 

"Cool hand, Voles!" said SteingaU. 

"The whole thing was bungled!" cried Car- 
shaw in a white heat. "If Clancy had been 
here this couldn't have happened." 

Steingall took the implied taunt coolly. 

"It would have been better had I followed 
my original plan and not helped you," he said. 
"You or our East Orange friend might have 
been killed, it is true, but Voles could not have 
carried the girl off so easily." 

Carshaw promptly regretted his bitter com- 
ment.. "I'm sorry," he said, "but you cannot 
realize what all this means to me, Stein- 
gall." 

"I think I can. Cheer up; your car is easily 
recognizable. We have a cyclist known to this 
young lady in close pursuit. Even if he fails to 
catch up with Voles, he will at least give us 
some definite direction for a search. At pres- 
ent there is nothing for us to do but lodge these 
people in the local prison, telephone the ferries 
and main towns, and go back to New York. 
The police here will let us know what happens 
to the cyclist; he may even call at the Bureau. 
I can act best in New York." 

"Do you mean now to arrest those in the 
house?" 

"Yes, sure. That is, I'll get the New Jersey 
police to hold them." 

4 * On what charge 1 ' ' 



274 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Conspiracy. At last we have clear evidence 
against them. Miss Polly here has actually 
seen Voles carrying off Miss Bartlett, who had 
previously been rendered insensible. If I am 
not mistaken in my man, Fowle will turn State's 
evidence when he chews on the proposition for 
a few hours in a cell." 

"Pah the wretch! I don't want these rep- 
tiles to be crushed; what I want is to recover 
Miss Bartlett. Would it not be best to leave 
them their liberty and watch them?" 

"I've always found a seven days' remand 
very helpful," mused the detective. 

"In ordinary crime, yes. But here we have 
Rachel Craik, who would suffer martyrdom 
rather than speak; Fowle, a mere tool, who 
knows nothing except what little he is told; 
and a thick-headed brute named Mick the Wolf, 
who does what his master bids him. Don't you 
see that in prison they are useless. At liberty 
they may help by trying to communicate with 
Voles." 

"I'm half inclined to agree with you. Now 
to frighten them. Keep your face and tongue 
under control; I'll try a dodge that seldom 
fails." 

They re-entered the house. Jim was doing 
sentry-go in the hall. The prisoners were sit- 
ting mute, save that Mick the Wolf uttered an 



IN FULL CRY 275 

occasional growl of pain ; his wounded arm was 
hurting him sorely. 

''We're not going to worry any more about 
you," said Steingall contemptuously as he un- 
locked the hand-cuffs with which he had been 
compelled to secure Rachel and Fowle. 

"Yes, you will," was the woman's defiant 
cry. "Your outrageous conduct " 

"Oh, pull that stuff on some one likely to be 
impressed by it. It comes a trifle late in the 
day when Miss Winifred Marchbanks is in the 
hands of her friends and Voles on his way to 
prison. I don't even want you, Eachel Bart- 
lett, unless the State attorney decides that you 
ought to be prosecuted." 

The woman's eyes gleamed like those of a 
spiteful cat. The detective's cool use of Wini- 
fred's right name, and of the name by which 
Rachel Craik herself ought to be known, was 
positively demoralizing. Fowle, too, was 
greatly alarmed. The police-officer said noth- 
ing about not wanting him. With Voles 's su- 
perior will withdrawn, he began to quake 
again. But Rachel was a dour New Englander, 
of different metal to a man from the East 
Side. 

"If you're speaking of my niece," she said, 
"you have been misled by the hussy, and by 
that man of hers there. Mr. Voles is her father. 



276 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

I have every proof of my words. You can bring 
none of yours." 

Steingall, eying Fowle, laughed. "You will 
be able to tell us all about it in the witness- 
box, Rachel Bartlett," he said. 

"How dare you call me by that name?" 

"Because it's your right one. Craik was 
your mother's name. If friend Voles had only 
kept his hands clean, or even treated you honor- 
ably, you might now be Mrs. Ralph Meiklejohn, 
eh?" 

He was playing with her with the affable 
gambols of a cat toying with a doomed mouse. 
Each instant Fowle was becoming more per- 
turbed. He did not like the way in which the 
detective ignored him. Was he to be swallowed 
at a gulp when his turn came? 

Even Rachel Craik was silenced by this last 
shot. She wrung her hands; this stern, im- 
placable woman seemed to be on the point of 
bursting into tears. All the plotting and de- 
vices of years had failed her suddenly. An 
edifice of deception, which had lasted half a 
generation, had crumbled into nothingness. 
This man had callously exposed her secret and 
her shame. At that moment her heart was 
bitter against Voles. 

The detective, skilled in the phases of crim- 
inal thought, knew exactly what was passing 
through the minds of both Rachel and Fowle. 



IN FULL GEY 277 

Revenge in the one case, safety in the other, 
was operating quickly, and a crisis was at 
hand. 

But just then the angry voice of the East 
Orange plumber reached him: "Just imagine 
Fetch turnin' up; him, of all men in the world! 
An' of course you talked nicey-nicey, an' he's 
such an obligin' feller that he beats it after the 
car! Fetch, indeed!" 

There was a snort of jealous fury. Polly's 
voice was raised in protest. 

"Jim, don't be stupid. How could I tell who 
it was?" 

"I'll back you against any girl in East 
Orange to find another string to your bow 
wherever you may happen to be," was the en- 
raged retort. 

The detective hastened to stop this lovers' 
quarrel, which had broken out after a whispered 
colloquy. He was too late. Miss Polly was on 
her dignity. 

"Well, Mr. Fetch is a real man, anyhow," 
came her stinging answer. "He's after them 
now, and he won't let them slip through his 
fingers like you did." 

The sheer injustice of this statement ren- 
dered Jim incoherent. Fetch was an old rival. 
When next they met, gore would flow in East 
Orange. But the detective's angry whisper re- 
stored the senses of both. 



278 TEE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"Can't you two shut up?" he hissed. " Your 
miserable quarrel has warned our prisoners. 
They were on the very point of <confe<ssing 
everything when you blurted out that the chief 
rascal had escaped. I'm ashamed of you, es- 
pecially after you had behaved so well." 

His rebuke was merited; they were abashed 
into silence too late. When he returned to 
the pair in the corner of the room he saw Ra- 
chel Craik's sour smile and Fowle's downcast 
look of calculation. 

"A lost opportunity!" he muttered, but faced 
the situation quite pleasantly. 

"You may as well remain here," he said. 
"I may want you, and you should realize with- 
out giving further trouble that you cannot hide 
from the police. Come, Mr. Carshaw, we have 
work before us in East Orange. Miss Wini- 
fred should be all right by this time." 

Rachel Craik actually laughed. She won- 
dered why she had lost faith in Voles for an in- 
stant. 

"I'll send a doctor," went on Steingall com- 
posedly. "Your friend there needs one, I 
guess." 

"I'd sooner have a six-shooter," roared Mick 
the Wolf. 

"Doctors are even more deadly sometimes." 

So the detective took his defeat cheerfully, 
and that is the worst thing a man ban do in 



IN FULL CRY 279 

his opponent's interests. He was rather silent 
as he trudged with Carshaw and the others 
back to the train, however. 

He was asking himself what new gibe Clancy 
would spring on him when the story of the 
night's fiasco came out. 



CHAPTER XXV 

FLANK ATTACKS 

SOMEWHAT tired, having ridden that day to 
Poughkeepsie and back, Petch, nevertheless, 
put up a great race after the fleeing motor-car. 

His muscles were rejuvenated by Polly Barn- 
ard's exciting news and no less by admiration 
for the girl herself. Little thinking that Jim, 
the plumber, was performing deeds of derring- 
do in the hall of Gateway House, he congratu- 
lated himself on the lucky chance which enabled 
him to oblige the fair Polly. He dashed into the 
road to Hoboken, and found, to his joy, that 
the dust raised by the passage of the car gave 
an unfailing clue to its route. Now, a well- 
regulated motor-cycle can run rings round any 
other form of automobile, no matter how many 
horses may be pent in the cylinders, if on an 
ordinary road and subjected to the exigencies 
of traffic. 

Voles, break-neck driver though he was, dared 
not disregard the traffic regulations and risk 
a smash-up. He got the best out of the engine, 
but was compelled to go steadily through clus- 
ters of houses and around tree-shaded corners. 

380 



FLANK ATTACKS 281 

To his great amazement, as he was tearing 
through the last habitations before crossing the 
New Jersey flats, he was hailed loudly from 
behind : 

"Hi, you pull up!" 

He glanced over his shoulder. A motor-cyc- 
list, white with dust, was riding after him with 
tremendous energy. 

"Hola!" cried Voles, snatching another look. 
"What's the matter?" 

Fetch should have temporized, done one of 
a hundred things he thought of too late ; but he 
was so breathless after the terrific sprint in 
which he overtook Voles that he blurted 
out: 

"I know you you can't escape there's the 
girl herself I see her!" 

"Hell!" 

Voles urged on the car by foot and finger. 
After him pelted Fetch, with set teeth and 
straining eyes. The magnificent car, superb in 
its energies, swept through the night like the 
fiery dragon of song and fable, but with a speed 
never attained by dragon yet, else there would 
be room on earth for nothing save dragons. 
And the motor-cycle leaped and bounded close 
behind, stuttering its resolve to conquer the 
monster in front. 

The pair created a great commotion as they 
whirred past scattered houses and emerged 



282 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

into the keen, cold air of the marshland. A 
few cars met en route actually slowed up, and 
heads were thrust out to peer in wonder. "Wo- 
men in them were scared, and enjoined drivers 
to be careful, while men explained laughingly 
that a couple of joy-riders were being chased 
by a motor "cop." 

It was neck or nothing now for Voles, and 
when these alternatives offered, he never hesi- 
tated as to which should be chosen. He knew 
he was in desperate case. 

The pace ; the extraordinary appearance of a 
hatless man and a girl with her hair streaming 
wild for Winifred's abundant tresses had soon 
shed all restraint of pins and twists before the 
tearing wind of their transit would create a 
tumult in Hoboken. Something must be done. 
He must stop the car and shoot that pestifer- 
ous cyclist, who had sprung out of the ground 
as though one of Medusa's teeth had lain buried 
there throughout the ages, and become a pano- 
plied warrior at a woman's cry. 

He looked ahead. There was no car in sight. 
He peered over his shoulder. There was no 
cyclist ! Fetch had not counted on this frenzied 
race, and his petrol-tank was empty. He had 
pulled up disconsolately half a mile away, and 
was now borrowing a gallon of gas from an 
Orange-bound car, explaining excitedly that he 
was "after" a murderer! 



FLANK ATTACKS 283 

Voles laughed. The fiend's luck, which sel- 
dom fails the fiend's votaries, had come to his 
aid in a highly critical moment. There re- 
mained Winifred. She, too, must be dealt with. 
Now, all who have experienced the effect of an 
anesthetic will understand that after the merely 
stupefying power of the gas has waned there 
follows a long period of semi-hysteria, when 
actual existence is dreamlike, and impressions 
of events are evanescent. Winifred, therefore, 
hardly appreciated what was taking place until 
the car- stopped abruptly, and the stupor of 
cold passed almost simultaneously with the 
stupor of anesthesia. 

But Voles had his larger plan now. With 
coolness and daring he might achieve it. All 
depended on the discretion of those left be- 
hind in Gateway House. It was impossible to 
keep Winifred always in durance, or to prevent 
her everlastingly from obtaining help. That 
fool of a cyclist, for instance, had he contented 
himself with riding quietly behind until he 
reached the ferry, would have wrecked the ex- 
ploit beyond repair. 

There remained one last move, but it was a 
perfect one in most ways. Would Fowle keep 
his mouth shut? Voles cursed Fowle in his 
thought. Were it not for Fowle there would 
have been no difficulty. Carshaw would never 
have met Winifred, and the girl would have 



284 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

been as wax in the hands of Rachel Craik. Ho 
caught hold of Winifred's arm. 

"If you scream I'll choke you!" he said 
fiercely. 

Shaken by the chloroform mixture, benumbed 
as the outcome of an unprotected drive, the 
girl was physically as well as mentally unable 
to resist. He coiled her hair into a knot, gag- 
ged her dexterously with a silk handkerchief 
Voles knew all about gags and tied her 
hands behind her back with a shoe-lace. Then 
he adjusted the hood and side-screens. 

He did these things hurriedly, but without 
fumbling. He was losing precious minutes, for 
the telephone-wire might yet throttle him; but 
the periods of waiting at the ferry and while 
crossing the Hudson must be circumvented in 
some way or other. His last act before start- 
ing the car was to show Winifred the revolver 
he never lacked. 

"See this!" he growled into her ear. "I'm 
not going to be held by any cop. At the least 
sign of a move by you to attract attention I'll 
put the first bullet through the cop, the second 
through you, and the third through myself, if 
I can't make my get-away. Better believe that. 
I mean it." 

He asked for no token of understanding on 
her part. He was stating only the plain facts. 
In a word, Voles was born to be a great man, 



FLANK ATTACKS 285 

and an unhappy fate had made him a scoundrel. 
But fortune still befriended him. Rain fell as 
he drove through Hoboken. The ferry was al- 
most deserted, and the car was wedged in be-, 
tween two huge mail-vans on board the boat. 

Hardened rascal though he was, Voles 
breathed a sigh of relief as he drove unchal- 
lenged past a uniformed policeman on arriving 
at Christopher Street. He guessed his escape 
was only a matter of minutes. In reality, he 
was gone some ten seconds when the policeman 
was called to the phone. As for Fetch, that 
valorous knight-errant crossed on the next boat, 
and the Hoboken police were already on the qui 
vive. 

Every road into and out of New York was' 
soon watched by sharp eyes on the lookout for 
a car bearing a license numbered in the tens of 
thousands, and tenanted by a hatless man and 
a girl in indoor costume. Quickly the circles 
lessened in concentric rings through the agen- 
cies of telephone-boxes and roundsmen. 

At half past nine a patrolman found a car 
answering the description standing outside an 
up-town saloon on the East Side. Examining 
the register number he saw at once that black- 
ing had been smeared over the first and last 
figures. Then he knew. But there was no trace 
of the driver. Voles and Winifred had van- 
ished into thin air. 



286 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Mrs Carshaw, breakfasting with a haggard 
and weary son, revealed that Senator Meikle- 
john was at Atlantic City. He kissed her for 
the news. 

"Meiklejohn must wait, mother," he said. 
"Winifred is somewhere in New York. I can- 
not tear myself away to Atlantic City to-day. 
When I have found her, I shall deal with Meik- 
lejohn." 

Then came Steingall, and he and Mrs. Car- 
shaw exchanged a glance which the younger 
man missed. 

Mrs. Carshaw, sitting a while in deep thought 
after the others had gone, rang up a railway 
company. Atlantic City is four hours distant 
from New York. By hurrying over certain in- 
quiries she wished to make, she might catch a 
train at midday. 

She drove to her lawyers. At her request a 
smart clerk was lent to her for a couple of 
hours. They consulted various records. The 
clerk made many notes on foolscap sheets in a 
large, round hand, and Mrs. Carshaw, seated in 
the train, read them many times through her 
gold-mounted lorgnette. 

It was five o'clock when a taxi brought her to 
the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, and Senator 
Meiklejohn was the most astonished man on the 
Jersey coast at the moment when she entered 
unannounced, for Mrs. Carshaw had simply 



FLANK ATTACKS 287 

said to the elevator-boy: ''Take me to Sena- 
tor Meikle John's sitting-room." 

Undeniably he was startled; but playing des- 
perately for high stakes had steadied him 
somewhat. Perhaps the example of his stron- 
ger brother had some value, too, for he rose 
with sufficient affability. 

"What a pleasant rencontre, Mrs. Carshaw," 
he said. "I had no notion you were within a 
hundred miles of the Board Walk." 

"That is not surprising," she answered, sink- 
ing into a comfortable chair. "I have just ar- 
rived. Order me some sandwiches and a cup 
of tea. I'm famished." 

He obeyed. 

"I take it you have come to see me?" he said, 
quietly enough, though aware of a queer flut- 
tering about the region of his heart. 

"Yes. I am so worried about Rex." 

"Dear me! The girl?" 

"It is always a woman. How you men must 
loathe us in your sane moments, if you ever 
have any." 

"I flatter myself that I am sane, yet how 
could I say that I loathe your sex, Mrs. Car- 
shaw?" 

"I wonder if your flattery will bear analysis. 
But there! No serious talk until I am re- 
freshed. Do ring for some biscuits; sand- 
wjches are apt to be slow in the cutting." 



288 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

Thus by pretext she kept him from direct 
converse until a tea-tray, with a film of pate 
de fois coyly hidden in thin bread and but- 
ter, formed, as it were, a rampart between 
them. 

"How did you happen on my address?" he 
asked smilingly. 

It was the first shell of real warfare, and she 
answered in kind : * * That was quite easy. The 
people at the detective bureau know it. ' ' 

The words hit him like a bullet. 

"The Bureau!" he cried. 

"Yes. The officials there are interested in 
the affairs of Winifred Marchbanks." 

He went ashen-gray, but essayed, neverthe- 
less, to turn emotion into mere amazement. 
He was far too clever a man to pretend a blank 
negation. The situation was too strenuous for 
any species of ostrich device. 

"I seem to remember that name," he said 
slowly, moistening his lips with his tongue. 

"Of course you do. You have never for- 
gotten it. Let us have a friendly chat about 
her, Senator. My son is going to marry her. 
That is- why I am here." 

She munched her sandwiches and sipped her 
tea. This experienced woman of the world, 
now boldly declared on the side of romance, 
was far too astute to force the man to despera- 
tion unless it was necessary. He must be given 



FLANK ATTACKS 289 

breathing-time, permitted to collect his wits. 
She was sure of her ground. Her case was not 
legally strong. Meiklejohn would discover 
that defect, and, indeed, it was not her object 
to act legally. If others could plot and scheme, 
she would have a finger in the pie that was all. 
And behind her was the clear brain of Stein- 
gall, who had camped for days near the Sena- 
tor in Atlantic City, and had advised the mother 
how to act for her son. 

There was a long silence. She ate steadily. 

"Perhaps you will be good enough to state 
explicitly why you are here,. Mrs. Carshaw," 
said Meiklejohn at last. 

She caught the ring of defiance in his tone. 
She smiled. There was to be verbal sword- 
play, and she was armed cap-d-pie. 

"Just another cup of tea," she pleaded, and 
he wriggled uneasily in his chair. The delay 
was torturing him. She unrolled her big sheets 
of notes. He looked over at them with well- 
simulated indifference. 

"I have an engagement " he began, looking 
at his watch. 

"You must put it off," she said, with sudden 
heat. "The most important engagement of 
your life is here, now, in this room, William 
Meiklejohn. I mentioned the detective bureau 
when I entered. Which do you prefer to en- 
counter me or an emissary of the police?" 



290 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

He paled again. Evidently this society lady 
had claws, and would use them if annoyed. 

' 'I do not think that I have said anything 
to warrant such language to me," he mur- 
mured, striving to smile deprecatingly. He suc- 
ceeded but poorly. 

"You sent me to drive out into the world the 
girl whom my son loved," was the retort. 
"You made a grave mistake in that. I recog- 
nized her, after a little while. I knew her 
mother. Now, am I to go into details'?" 

"I really I" 

"Very well. Eighteen years ago your 
brother, Ealph Vane Meiklejohn, murdered a 
man named Marchbanks, who had discovered 
that you and your brother were defrauding his 
wife of funds held by your bank as her trustees. 
I have here the records of the crime. I do not 
say that your brother, who has since been a 
convict and is now assisting you under the name 
of Ralph Voles, could be charged with that 
crime. Maybe 'murderer' is too strong a word 
for him where Marchbanks was concerned; but 
I do say that any clever lawyer could send you 
and him to the penitentiary for robbing a 
dead woman and her daughter, the girl whom 
you and he have kidnapped within the last 
week. ' ' 

Here was a broadside with a vengeance. 
Meiklejohn could not have endured a keener 



FLANK ATTACKS 291 

agony were he facing a judge and jury. It was 
one thing to have borne this terrible secret 
gnawing at his vitals during long years, but it 
was another to find it pitilessly laid bare by a 
woman belonging to that very society for which 
he had dared so much in order to retain his 
footing. 

He bent his head between his hands. For 
a few seconds thoughts of another crime danced 
in his surcharged brain. But Mrs. Carshaw's 
well-bred syllables brought him back to sanity 
with -chill deliberateness. 

1 ' Shall I go on ! " she said. < < Shall I tell you 
of Eachel Bartlett; of the scandal to be raised 
about your ears, not only by this falsified trust, 
but by the outrageous attack on Eonald 
Tower?" 

He raised his pallid face. He was a proud 
man, and resented her merciless taunts. 

"Of course," he muttered, "I deny every- 
thing you have said. But, if it were true, you 
must have some ulterior motive in approaching 
me. What is it?" 

"I am glad you see that. I am here to offer 
terms. ' ' 

"Name them." 

"You must place this girl, Winifred March- 
banks, under my care where she will remain 
until my son marries her and make restitu- 
tion of her mother's property." 



292 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

"No doubt you have a definite sum in your 
mind?" 

"Most certainly. My lawyers tell me you 
ought to refund the interest as well, but Wini- 
fred may content herself with the principal. 
You must hand her half a million dollars ! ' ' 

He sprang to his feet, livid, "Woman," 
he yelled, " you are crazy!" 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE BITEE BIT 

MRS. CARSHAW focused him again through 
her gold-rimmed eye-glasses. " Crazy?" she 
questioned calmly. "Not a bit of it merely an 
old woman bargaining for her son. Rex would 
not have done it. After thrashing you he 
would have left you to the law, and, were the 
law to step in, you would surely be ruined. I, 
on the other hand, do not scruple to compound 
a felony that is what my lawyers call it. My 
extravagance and carelessness have contributed 
to encumber Rex's estates with a heavy mort- 
gage. If I provide his wife with a dowry which 
pays off the mortgage and leaves her a nice sum 
as pin-money, I shall have done well." 

"Half a million! I I repudiate your state- 
ments. Even if I did not, I have no such sum 
at command." 

"Yes, you have, or will have, which is the 
same thing. Shall I give you details of the 
Costa Rica cotton concession, arranged be- 
tween you, and Jacob, and Helen Tower? 
They're here. As for repudiation, perhaps I 
have hurried matters. Permit me to go through 

293 



294 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

my story at some length, quoting chapter and 
verse." 

She spread open her papers again, after hav- 
ing folded them. 

1 'Stop this wretched farce," he almost 
screamed, for her coolness broke up his never 
too powerful nervous system. "If I agree 
what guarantee is there " 

"Ah! now you're talking reasonably. I can 
ensure the acceptance of my terms. First, 
where is Winifred?" 

He hesitated. Here was the very verge of 
the gulf. Any admission implied the truth of 
Mrs. Carshaw's words. She did not help him. 
He must take the plunge without any further 
impulsion. But the Senator's nerve was broken. 
They both knew it. 

"At Gateway House, East Orange," he said 
sullenly. "I must tell you that my my 
brother is a dare-devil. Better leave me 
to " 

"I am glad you have told the truth," she in- 
terrupted. "She is not at Gateway House now. 
Eex and a detective were there last night. 
There was a fight. Your brother, a resource- 
ful scoundrel evidently, carried her off. You 
must find him and her. A train leaves for New 
York in half an hour. Come back with me and 
help look for her. It will count toward your re- 
generation. " 



THE BITER BIT 295 

He glanced at his watch abstractedly. He 
even smiled in a sickly way as he said: 

"You timed your visit well." 

"Yes. A woman has intuition, you know. 
It takes the place of brains. I shall await you 
in the hall. Now, don't be stupid, and think of 
revolvers, and poisons, and things. You will 
end by blessing me for my interference. Will 
you be ready in five minutes'?" 

She sat in the lounge, and soon saw some bag- 
gage descending. Then Meiklejohn joined her. 
She went to the office and asked for a telegraph 
form. The Senator had followed. 

"What are you going to do?" he asked sus- 
piciously. 

"I'm wiring Rex to say that you and I are 
traveling to New York together, and advising 
him to suspend operations until we arrive. 
That will be helpful. You will not be tempted 
to act foolishly, and he will not do anything to 
prejudice your future actions." 

He gave her a wrathful glance. Mrs. Car- 
shaw missed no point. A man driven to des- 
peration might be tempted to bring about an 
"accident" if he fancied he could save himself 
in that way. But, clever as a mother scheming 
for her son's welfare proved herself, there was 
one thing she could not do. Neither she nor 
any other human being can prevent the un- 
expected from happening occasionally. Sound 



296 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

judgment and astute planning will often gain 
a repute for divination; yet the prophet is de- 
cried at times. Steingall had discovered this, 
and Mrs. Carshaw experienced it now. 

It chanced that Mick the Wolf, lying in Gate- 
way House on a bed of pain, his injuries ag- 
gravated by the struggle with the detective, and 
his temper soured by Rachel Craik's ungracious 
ministrations, found his thoughts dwelling on 
the gentle girl who had forgotten her own sor- 
rows and tended him, her enemy. 

Such moments come to every man, no matter 
how vile he may be, and this lorn wolf was a 
social castaway from whom, during many years, 
all decent-minded people had averted their 
faces. His slow-moving mind was apt to be 
dominated by a single idea. He understood 
enough of the Costa Rican project to grasp the 
essential fact that there was money in it for all 
concerned, and money honestly earned, if 
honesty be measured by the ethics of the stock 
manipulator. 

He realized, too, that neither Voles nor 
Rachel Craik could be moved by argument, and 
he rightly estimated Fowle as a weak-minded 
nonentity. So he slowly hammered out a con- 
clusion, and, having appraised it in his narrow 
circle of thought, determined to put it into 
effect. 

An East Orange doctor, who had received his 



TEE BITER BIT 297 

instructions from the police, paid a second visit 
to Mick the Wolf shortly before the hour of 
Mrs. Carshaw's arrival in Atlantic City. 

"Well, how is the arm feeling now!" he said 
pleasantly, when he entered the patient's bed- 
room. 

The answer was an oath. 

"That will never do," laughed the doctor. 
"Cheerfulness is the most important factor in 
healing. Ill-temper causes jerky movements 
and careless " 

"Oh, shucks," came the growl. "Say, listen, 
boss! I've been broke up twice over a slip of 
a girl. I've had enough of it. The whole darn 
thing is a mistake. I want to end it, an' I don't 
give a hoorah in Hades who knows. Just tell 
her friends that if they look for her on board 
the steamer Wild Duck, loadin' at Smith's Pier 
in the East River, they'll either find her or 
strike her trail. That's all. Now fix these 
bandages, for my arm's on fire." 

The doctor wisely put no further questions. 
He dressed the wounded limb and took his de- 
parture. A policeman in plain clothes, hiding 
in a neighboring barn, saw him depart and 
hailed him: "Any news, Doc?" 

"Yes," was the reply. "If my information 
is correct you'll not be kept there much longer." 

He motored quickly to the police-station. 
Within the hour Carshaw, with frowning face 



298 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

and dreams of wreaking physical vengeance on 
the burly frame of Voles, was speeding across 
New York with Steingall in his recovered car. 
He simply hungered for a personal combat with 
the man who had inflicted such sufferings on his 
beloved Winifred. 

The story told by Polly Barnard, and sup- 
plemented by Fetch, revealed very clearly the 
dastardly trick practised by Voles the previ- 
ous evening, while the dodge of smearing out 
two of the figures on the automobile's license 
plate explained the success attained in travers- 
ing the streets unnoticed by the police. 

Steingall was inclined to theorize. 

' ' The finding of the car puzzled me at first, I 
admit," he said. "Now, assuming that Mick 
the Wolf has not sent us off on a wild-goose 
chase, the locality of the steamer explains it. 
Voles drove all the way to the East Side, quit- 
ted the car in the neighborhood of the pier, 
deposited Miss Bartlett on board the vessel 
under some plausible pretext, and actually 
risked the return journey into the only part 
of New York where the missing auto might not 
be noticed at once. He's a bold rogue, and no 
mistake. ' ' 

But Carshaw answered not. The chief 
glanced at him sideways, and smiled. There 
was a lowering fire in his companion's eyes that 
told its own story. Thenceforward, the run 



THE BITER BIT 299 

was taken in silence. But Steingall had decided 
on his next move. When they neared Smith's 
Pier Carshaw wished to drive straight there. 

"Nothing of the sort," was the sharp official 
command. "We have failed once. Perhaps 
it was my fault. This time there shall be no 
mistakes. Turn along the next street to the 
right. The precinct station is three blocks 
down." 

Somewhat surprised by Steingall 's tone, 
the other obeyed. At the station-house a police- 
man, called from the men's quarters, where he 
was quietly reading and smoking, stated that 
he was on duty in the neighborhood between 
eight o'clock the previous evening and four 
o'clock that morning. He remembered seeing 
a car, similar to the one standing outside, pass 
about 9.15 P.M. It contained two people, he be- 
lieved, but could not be sure, as the screens 
were raised owing to the rain. He did not see 
the car again; some drunken sailors required 
attention during the small hours. 

The local police-captain and several men in 
plain clothes were asked to assemble quietly on 
Smith's Pier. A message was sent to the river 
police, and a launch requisitioned to patrol near 
the Wild Duck. 

Finally, Steingall, who was a born strategist, 
and whose long experience of cross-examining 
counsel rendered him wary before he took ir- 



300 TEE BAUTLETT MYSTERY 

revocable steps in cases such as this, where a 
charge might fail on unforeseen grounds, made 
inquiries from a local ship's chandler as to the 
Wild Duck, her cargo, and her destination. 

There was no secret about her. She was 
loading with stores for Costa Eica. The con- 
signees were a syndicate, and both Carshaw 
and Steingall recognized its name as that of the 
venture in which Senator Meiklejohn was in- 
terested. 

"Do you happen to know if there is any one 
on board looking after the interests of the syn- 
dicate f ' ' asked the detective. 

"Yes. A big fellow has been down here once 
or twice. He's going out as the manager, I 
guess. His name was let me see now " 

"Voles?" suggested Steingall. 

"No, that wasn't it. Oh, I've got it Vane, 
it was." 

Carshaw, dreadfully impatient, failed to un- 
derstand all this preliminary survey; but the 
detective had no warrant, and ship's captains 
become crusty if their vessels are boarded in 
a peremptory manner without justification. 
Moreover, Steingall quite emphatically ordered 
Carshaw to remain on the wharf while he and 
others went on board. 

"You want to strangle Voles, if possible," 
he said. "From what I've heard of him he 
would meet the attempt squarely, and you two 



THE BITER BIT 301 

might do each other serious injury. I simply 
refuse to permit any such thing. You have a 
much more pleasant task awaiting you when 
you meet the young lady. No one will say a 
word if you hug her as hard as you like." 

Carshaw, agreeing to aught hut delay, prom- 
ised ruefully not to interfere. When the river 
police were at hand a nod brought several 
powerfully built officers closing in on the main 
gangway of the Wild Duck. The police-cap- 
tain, in uniform, accompanied Steingall on 
board. 

A deck hand hailed them and asked their 
business. 

"I want to see the captain," said the detec- 
tive. 

"There he is, boss, lookin' at you from the 
chart-house now." 

They glanced up toward a red-faced, hector- 
ing sort of person who regarded them with 
evident disfavor. Some ships, loading for Cen- 
tral American ports at out-of-the-way wharves, 
do not want uniformed police on their decks. 

The two climbed an iron ladder. Men at 
work in the forehold ceased operations and 
looked up at them. Their progress was fol- 
lowed by many interested eyes from the wharf. 
The captain glared angrily. He, too, had noted 
the presence of the stalwart contingent near the 
gangway, nor had he missed the police boat. 



"What the " he commenced; but the de- 
tective's stern question stopped an outburst. 

"Have you a man named Voles or Vane on 
board?" 

"Mr. Vane yes." 

"Did he bring a young woman to this ship 
late last night?" 

"I don't see " 

"Let me explain, captain. I'm from the de- 
tective bureau. The man I am inquiring for 
is wanted on several charges." 

The steady official tone caused the skipper 
to think. Here was no cringing foreigner or 
laborer to be brow-beaten at pleasure. 

"Well, I'm " he growled. "Here, you," 
roaring at a man beneath, "go aft and tell Mr. 
Vane he's wanted on the bridge." 

The messenger vanished. 

"I assume there is a young lady on board?" 
went on Steingall. 

"I'm told so. I haven't seen her." 

"Surely you know every one who has a right 
to be on the ship ? ' ' 

"Guess that's so, mister, an' who has more 
right than the daughter of the man who puts 
up the dough for the trip? Strikes me you're 
makin' a hash of things. But here's Mr. Vane. 
He'll soon put you where you belong." 

Advancing from the after state-rooms came 
Voles. He was looking at the bridge, but the 



THE BITER BIT 303 

police-captain was hidden momentarily by the 
chart-room. He gazed at Steingall with bold 
curiosity. He had a foot on the companion 
ladder when he heard a sudden commotion on 
the wharf. Turning, he saw Fowle, livid with 
terror, writhing in Carshaw's grasp. 

Then Voles stood still. The shades of night 
were drawing in, but he had seen enough to 
give him pause. Perhaps, too, other less pal- 
pable shadows darkened his soul at that 
moment. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE SETTLEMENT 

THE chief disliked melodrama in official af- 
fairs. Any man, even a crook, ought to know 
when he is beaten, and take his punishment 
with a stiff upper lip. But Voles 's face was 
white, and in one of his temperament, that was 
as ominous a sign as the bloodshot eyes of a 
wild boar. Steingall had hoped that Voles 
would walk quietly into the chart-room, and, 
seeing the folly of resistance, yield to the law 
without a struggle. Perhaps, under other 
conditions, he might have done so. It was the 
coming of Fowle that had complicated matters. 

The strategic position was simple enough. 
Voles had the whole of the after-deck to him- 
self. In the river, unknown to him, was the 
police launch. On the wharf, plain in view, 
were several policemen, whose clothes in no- 
wise concealed their character. On the bridge, 
visible now, was the uniformed police-captain. 
Above all, there was Fowle, wriggling in Car- 
shaw's grasp, and pointing frantically at him, 



804 



TEE SETTLEMENT 305 

"Come right along, Mr. Vane," said Stein- 
gall encouragingly; "we'd like a word with 
you." 

The planets must have been hostile to the 
Meiklejohn family in that hour. Brother Wil- 
liam was being badly handled by Mrs. Carshaw 
in Atlantic City, and Brother Ralph was receiv- 
ing a polite request to come upstairs and be 
cuffed. 

But Ralph Vane Meiklejohn faced the odds 
creditably. People said afterward it was a pity 
he was such a fire-eater. Matters might have 
been arranged much more smoothly. As it was, 
he looked back, perhaps, through a long vista 
of misspent years, and the glance was not en- 
couraging. Of late, his mind had dwelt with 
somewhat unpleasant frequency on the finding 
of a dead body in the quarry near his Vermont 
home. 

His first great crime had found him out when 
he was beginning to forget it. He had walked 
that moment from the presence of a girl whose 
sorrowful, frightened face reminded him of 
another long-buried victim of that quarry 
tragedy. He knew, too, that this girl had been 
defrauded by him and his brother of a vast sum 
of money, and a guilty conscience made the 
prospect blacker than it really was. And then, 
he was a man of fierce impulses, of ungovern- 
able rage, a very tiger when his baleful pas- 



306 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

sions were stirred. A wave of madness swept 
through him now. He saw the bright prospect 
of an easily-earned fortune ruthlessly replaced 
by a more palpable vision of prison walls and 
silent, whitewashed corridors. Perhaps the 
chair of death itself loomed through the red 
mist before his eyes. 

Yet he retained his senses sufficiently to note 
the police-captain's slight signal to his men to 
come on board, and again he heard Steingall's 
voice : 

" Don't make any trouble, Voles. It'll be 
all the worse for you in the end." 

The detective's warning was not given with- 
out good cause. He knew the faces of men, and 
in the blazing eyes of this man he read a mani- 
acal fury. 

Voles glanced toward the river. It was 
nearly night. He could swim like an otter. In 
the sure confusion he might Then, for the 
first time, he noticed the police launch. His 
right hand dropped to his hip. 

"Ah, don't be a fool, Voles!" came the cry 
from the bridge. " You 're only making mat- 
ters worse." 

A bitter smile creased the lips of the man 
who felt the world slipping away beneath him. 
His hand was thrust forward, not toward the 
occupants of the bridge, but toward the wharf. 



THE SETTLEMENT 307 

Fowle saw him and yelled. A report and the 
yell merged into a scream of agony. Voles 
was sure that Fowle had betrayed him, and 
took vengeance. There was a deadly certainty 
in his aim. 

Steingall, utterly fearless when action was 
called for, swung himself down by the railings. 
He was too late. A second report, and Voles 
crumpled up. 

His bold spirit had not yielded nor his hand 
failed him in the last moment of his need. A 
bullet -was lodged in his brain. He was dead 
ere the huge body thudded on the deck. 

When Carshaw found Winifred in a cabin 
to open the door they had to obtain the key 
from Voles 's pocket the girl was sobbing piti- 
fully. She heard the revolver shots, and knew 
not what they betokened. She was so utterly 
shaken by these last dreadful hours that she 
could only cling to her lover and cry in a 
frightened way that went to his heart: 

"Oh, take me away, Rex! It was all my 
fault. Why did I not trust you? Please, take 
me away!" 

He fondled her hair and endeavored to kiss 
the tears from her eyes. 

"Don't cry, little one!" he whispered. "All 
your troubles have ended now." 

It was a simple formula, but effective. When 



308 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

repeated often enough, with sufficiently con- 
vincing caresses, she became calmer. When he 
brought her on deck all signs of the terrible 
scene enacted there had been removed. She 
asked what had caused the firing, and he told 
her that Voles was arrested. It was sufficient. 
So sensitive was she that the mere sound of 
the dead bully's name made her tremble. 

"I remember now," she whispered. "I was 
sure he had killed you. I knew you would fol- 
low me, Rex. When I saw you I forgot all 
else in the joy of it. Are you sure you are 
not injured!" 

At another time he would have laughed, but 
her worn condition demanded the utmost for- 
bearance. 

"No, dearest," he assured her. "He did not 
even try to hurt me. Now let me take you to 
my mother." 

The captain, thoroughly scared by the events 
he had witnessed, came forward with profuse 
apologies and offers of the ship's hospitality. 
Carshaw felt that the man was not to blame, 
but the Wild Duck held no attractions for him. 
He hurried Winifred ashore. 

Steingall came with them. The district police 
would make the official inquiries as a prelimin- 
ary to the inquest which would be held next day. 
Carshaw must attend, but Winifred would prob- 
ably be excused by the authorities. He con- 



THE SETTLEMENT 309 

veyed this information in scraps of innuendo. 
Winifred did not know of Voles 's death or the 
shooting of Fowle till many days had passed. 

Fowle did not die. He recovered, after an 
operation and some months in a hospital. Then 
Carshaw befriended him, obtained a situation 
for him, and gave him money to start life in 
an honest way once more. 

There was another scene when Mrs. Carshaw 
brought Meiklejohn to her apartment and 
found Rex and Winifred awaiting them. Wini- 
fred, of course, had never seen the Senator, 
and there was nothing terrifying to her in the 
sight of a haggard, weary-looking, elderly 
gentleman. She was far more fluttered by 
meeting Eex's mother, who figured in her 
mind as a domineering, cruel, old lady, ele- 
gantly merciless, and gifted with a certain skill 
in torture by words. 

Mrs. Carshaw began to dispel that impres- 
sion promptly. 

"My poor child I" she cried, with a break in 
her voice, "what you have undergone! Can 
you ever forgive me?" 

Carshaw, ignoring Meiklejohn, whispered to 
his mother that Winifred should be sent to bed. 
She was utterly worn out. One of the maids 
should sleep in her room in case she awoke 
in fright during the night. 

When left alone with Meiklejohjo. he intended 



310 THE BARTLETT MYSTERY 

to scarify the man's soul. But lie was dis- 
armed at the outset. The Senator's spirit was 
broken. He admitted everything; said nought 
in palliation. He could have taken no better 
line. When Mrs. Carshaw hastened back, fear- 
ing lest her plans might be upset, she found 
her son giving Winifred's chief persecutor a 
stiff dose of brandy. 

The tragedy of Smith's Pier was allowed to 
sink into the obscurity of an ordinary occur- 
rence. Fowle's unhappily-timed appearance 
was explained by Rachel Craik when her frenzy 
at the news of Voles 's death had subsided. 

A chuckling remark by Mick the Wolf that 
" There 'd been a darned sight too much fuss 
about that slip of a girl, an' he had fixed it," 
alarmed her. 

She sent Fowle at top speed to Smith's Pier 
to warn Voles. He arrived in time to be shot 
for his pains. 

Carshaw and Winifred were married quietly. 
Their honeymoon consisted of the trip to Mas- 
sachusetts when he began work in the cotton 
mill. Meiklejohn fulfilled his promise. When 
the Costa Eica cotton concession reached its 
zenith he sold out, resigned his seat in the Sen- 
ate and transferred to Winifred railway cash 
and gilt-edged bonds to the total value of a 
half a million dollars. So the young bride en- 
riched her husband, but Carshaw; refused to 



THE SETTLEMENT 311 

desert his business. He will die a millionaire, 
but lie hopes to live like one for a long time. 

Fetch and Jim fought over Polly. There 
was talk about it in East Orange, and Polly 
threw both over ; the latest gossip is that she is 
going to marry a police-inspector. 

Mrs. Carshaw, Sr., still visits her "dear 
friend," Helen Tower. Both of them speak 
highly of Meiklejohn, who lives in strict seclu- 
sion. He is very wealthy; since he ceased to 
strive for gold it has poured in on him. 

Winifred secured an allowance for Rachel 
Craik sufficient to live on, and Mick the Wolf, 
whose arm was never really sound again, was 
given a job on the Long Island estate as a 
watcher. 

Quite recently, when the young couple came 
in to New York for a week-end's shopping 
rendered necessary by the establishment of day 
and night nurseries they entertained Stein- 
gall and Clancy at dinner in the Biltmore. 
Naturally, at one stage of a pleasant meal, the 
talk turned on those eventful months, October 
and November, 1913. As usual, Clancy waxed 
sarcastic at his chief's expense. 

4 'He's as vain as a star actor in the movies," 
he cackled. "Hogs all the camera stuff. 
Wouldn't give me even a flash when the big 
scene was put on." 

Steingall pointed a fat cigar at him. 



312 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"Do you know what happened to a frog when" 
he tried to emulate a bull?" he said. 

"I know what happened to a bull one night in 
East Orange," came the ready retort. 

"The solitary slip in an otherwise unblem- 
ished career," sighed the chief. "Make the 
most of it, little man. If I allowed myself to 
dwell on your many blunders I'd lie down and 
die." 

Winifred never really understood these two. 
She thought their bickering was genuine. 

"Why," she cried, "you are wonderful, both 
of you ! From the very beginning you peered 
into the souls of those evil men. You, Mr. 
Clancy, seemed to sense a great mystery the 
moment you heard Rachel Craik speak to the 
Senator outside the club that night. As for you, 
Mr. Steingall, do you know what the lawyers 
told Rex and me soon after our marriage f ' ' 

"No, ma'am," said Steingall. 

"They said that if you hadn't sent Eex's 
mother to Atlantic City we might never have 
recovered a cent of the stolen money. Sheer 
bluff, they called it. We would have had the 
greatest difficulty in establishing a legal 
case." 

Steingall weighed the point for a moment. 

"Sometimes I'm inclined to think that the 
police know more about human nature than any 
other set of men," he said, at last, evidently 



THE SETTLEMENT 313 

choosing his words with care. " Perhaps I 
might except doctors. They, too, see us as we 
are. But the dry legal mind does not allow 
sufficiently for what is called in every-day 
speech a guilty conscience. In this case these 
people knew they had done you and your father 
and mother a great wrong, and that knowledge 
was never absent from their thoughts. It 
colored every word they uttered, governed 
every action. That's a heavy handicap, ma'am. 
It's the deciding factor in the never-ending 
struggle between the police and the criminal 
classes. The most callous crook walking Broad- 
way in freedom to-night a man who would 
scoff at the notion that he is bothered by any 
conscience at all never passes a policeman 
without an instinotrfO sense of danger. And 
that is what beats him in the long run. Crime 
may be a form of lunacy indeed, I look on it 
in that light myself but, luckily for mankind, 
crime cannot stifle conscience." 

The chief's tone had become serious; he ap- 
peared to awake to its gravity when he found 
the young wife's eyes fixed on his with a certain 
awe. He broke off the lecture suddenly. 

"Why," he cried, smiling broadly, and jerk- 
ing the cigar toward Clancy, "why, ma'am, if 
we cops hadn't some sort of a pull, what chance 
would a shrimp like him have against any one 
of real intelligence?" 



314 THE BAETLETT MYSTERY 

"That's what he regards as handing me a 
lemon for my Orange," grinned Clancy. 

Winifred laughed. The curtain can drop on 
the last act of her adventures to the mirthful 
music of her happiness. 



THE END 



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